I caught up with a colleague of mine last week. She runs a successful small business and during our quick lunch we got on to the topic of finding new customers and general business development strategies.
She put half her toasted focaccia down and said, “It’s all about going right back to basics. Everything we do must have a direct impact on the market we want to attract”.
I nodded in agreement.
“You have to know the psychology of your target market”, she said before taking a sip of her mineral water.
My colleague has never been one to reinvent the wheel. If a strategy has worked well in the past, she will put it into action in her business. And I know she has always been a strong believer in creating a client base of “fans” who will then, in turn, actively promote her business to others.
When I got back to the office I did a bit of research and came across an article which although written a few years ago, I feel is still relevant today. It discusses really knowing your customer and defining your target market.
When I used to manage large teams of sales people, the one question I used to ask them before they embarked on finding new business was:
“How well do you really know your existing clients?”
I didn’t want to know about what business they had provided us in a particular quarter (after all I could see that information in our database). I wanted to know if they knew where their clients were going on their next holiday, or whether they had any kids … or pets! More importantly if my sales people were calling their clients whether they could say, for example, “Hi Sarah, it’s Paul”, or whether they needed to say “Hi, Sarah, it’s Paul Slezak”, or if they had to give the full greeting “Hi Sarah, it’s Paul Slezak from ABC Limited”.
Think about how you announce yourself to your existing customers when you call them.
But once you have a core group of customers, you would (one would assume) probably want to expand your customer base, at which point defining your target market becomes a key strategy – and of course there’s plenty of interesting reading out there on this topic too. But with all the information out there, it’s still important that everything you do has a direct impact on the market you want to attract.
I must admit that my colleague would be the first to refer to herself a bit ‘old school’ in some of her strategies. But sometimes going right back to basics when it comes to new customer acquisition and business development can be just as powerful as all the digital marketing avenues (or “algorithms in the background of cyberworld” as she likes to refer to them) available today.