Drum Roll, Please. Here are the Best New Ways to Get Customers.

Modern marketers need modern methods.

Am I right? You might think this article is going to spend lots of time talking about building pipelines and creating conversion funnels, using social media to generate leads and attract prospects with content, mining data to unearth new insights, and more. Do read on, and see if you’re right.

Do you remember last week’s post, about how something may resonate with you, and then suddenly you’re seeing it everywhere? Sure enough, that happened to me. (I checked my bias, though, and validated – these things do work).

First, I was speaking with consultant and coach Debbie Adams of PeopleCan about how, despite the many tools we have at our disposal, some of the best and easiest sales come because we’ve already impressed the customer, and we aren’t listening carefully enough to realize it’s time to stop selling. I also overheard a conversation between two business women and one was asking the other about getting new customers, when privacy regulations seemed to be making it harder and harder to use email. “It’s easy, said one. I phone them.” Cold-calling is sometimes most effective because it’s simple and unexpected. And it makes you take time to think about the person on the other end of the line, before you begin – at least if you do it well. (For more info on how to do that, check out The Phone Lady – she works with entrepreneurs and enterprises to help them get better at using the phone). Lastly, to use Steve Willson’s favourite F1 quote: “Get in there, Lewis!” In other words, go to where potential customers are. Have conversations. Engage. Show them you’re a real person. You’ll be pleasantly surprised on one-on-one outreach will help build momentum in your business. So, in short, three tools that are underused and can freshen up your sales numbers? 

  1. Listen carefully for clues that people you know are already ready to buy.
  2. Pick up the phone and call. 
  3. Go out and meet prospects in person at an event that interests them. 

Oh, and one more tip about the customers you’ve already found? In this post by Devin Haman, he says that you can come up with more things to sell your existing customers, by proactively fixing problems today’s proactive customers may not even have discovered yet. 

I’m Megann Willson and I’m one of the Partners at PANOPTIKA. We work with our clients to help them see everything they need to make better decisions – using better data, a better approach, or better metrics. If you need help deciding which metrics will work best for you and your team, so that you can find, serve, and keep more customers, we can help. You can also follow us on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn.  For more news you can use to help you or your team to make better decisions, click the handy button, below.

Which came first – was it really the customer?

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We’ve said many times, that the best way to market is to find a customer, create a solution to a problem or a need for them, and sell it to them. We stand by that. While you’re busy creating that solution or figuring out how to fill the need (the job to be done, to paraphrase Clay Christensen), someone else may show them the next best option. Also, if you want other people to sell your product or service for you, by describing it to their networks, you need to know what it is that you sell. So which comes first? Customer, or product?

The first truth is this: knowing your customer is absolutely critical. The second truth is this: you need money to have a viable, ongoing business. And the third: sooner or later, to get money, you’re going to have to sell something – whether that something is a product or a service. Revenue is how you pay the bills, pay yourself, fund the work, even if you’re a social enterprise or not-for-profit. Remember: not-for-profit doesn’t mean, “doesn’t bring in money”.

So how do you figure out what it is that you sell? If it’s a widget, a chicken, or an egg, you’ve got the beginning of a description. If it’s more complicated, you need to be able to distill your product (or service) description down to something even your grandma or your five-year-old nephew could explain. Why? Simple: because the more people who know how to describe what you sell and why it’s great, the more unofficial salespeople you can have out there in the world, for free, generating leads for you. So go ahead. Break all those rules we’ve told you about customer focus, and take some time to figure out the easiest way to describe what it is you sell. You’ll be glad you did.

Is your campaign tired? Or are you?

Look at those fresh new messages and materials. So exciting! New initiatives to launch. Shiny new toys to play with. But winter has dragged on, and your spring-themed campaign seems ill-timed just yet. The tools and techniques you’ve been using seem tired and trite. Or are they?

Marketing and sales often encounter a kind of ennui with their campaigns just before the change of season – and especially if the season doesn’t seem to be changing as fast as it should. The common refrain is, “Our customers are tired of this! We’ve told them all about this already!” The reality is, you are not your customer’s only focus. (There, we said it. Right out loud.) So while it may be true that they’ve heard your message, and that they’re not sure you’ll have anything new to say, this doldrums of delivery that you’re in, is something you can change. In fact, it may not be that they are bored at all…it may be you who is just tired of sounding enthusiastic about the same old message. What are you to do?

Bear in mind that in sales, marketing, customer service…nearly anything that requires you to be customer-facing, attitude is altitude. Look for ways to recharge your batteries so you can put one last push on, before spring really does arrive. Start integrating a few new spring pieces of clothing into your wardrobe. Get a new haircut. Launch a new fitness routine. Begin a course that will make you sharper for the upcoming season. All of these will give you a feeling of accomplishment that will lift you up.

Next, check your assumptions. Visit clients and get a recap of their recall of key messages you’ve delivered this cycle. Make sure you correct any misperceptions so you’re starting from the same page when new selling models or tools are introduced. Consider any knowledge gaps as you visualize who is ready to receive the message of your next campaign, and who can use just a bit more personal attention to get them there.

Lastly and most importantly, remind yourself and your team of your achievements. Consider a celebration and final team incentive challenge as you wind down winter and get ready for spring. Because although it might not seem like it on a stormy day, the sun really is on its way.