With such fast advancements in technology, businesses are looking to expand and reach the maximum in sales. If you want to get more customers, you should join a bigger marketplace and offer to your current customers better and/or more services that they would enjoy.
Research the market and get feedback from current customers
First of all you have to begin researching the market, looking for what your customers may be interested in. To achieve this you could ask your customers to take a survey and answer few questions that will help you improve your relationship with them. This survey doesn’t have to be online. If you don’t have a website yet you can ask them to answer those questions when they are in the store. Your current customers’ feedback is very important because it will answer the most important question which is “Am I doing this the right way?”. If something isn’t good enough your customers will tell you, so you can improve it.
If people refuse to take the survey don’t get discouraged, many people refuse because they had enough of annoying surveys that don’t have anything to do with their activities. This way you have a 50% chance to get an answer, but if you don’t ask the answer is always a no. Your goal is to improve your relationship with your customers and you must do whatever it takes to achieve that. Once the first person takes the survey you will feel more confident and when you have more confidence you are more likely to get an answer with the next customer.
The best salespersons are the people who are very confident. This is just an example, in every area confidence is one of the most important things, another example is a speaker, if he doesn’t believe in himself he will forget something or will start stuttering, etc. First step is the most difficult, because you can’t lie to yourself. So doing things that you are good at will boost your confidence. Find one thing that your friends find difficult, but you do it with ease then do more of it. That is the best way to make yourself confident.
Second most important thing is being positive. After every failure you will learn valuable things that will really help you get better either in getting an answer or in improving your business. Failure is the best thing that can ever happen to anybody in any field. If there were no failures there wouldn’t be any successes either. You don’t have anything to lose. When people refuse don’t think about the negative things, look for anything that was positive. It might be awkward first few times, but that is totally normal. Whenever we try new things that we have never done before we feel bad and unsure.
The more you do it, the better you’ll get. Before taking your first shot with the customer I recommend you to stand in front of the mirror and try few different scenarios of how it might go. You may ask yourself “How is this effective ?”. I know many people find this method stupid, but it really works. When you ask your customer for the first time to take that survey it will be much easier, you will be more confident because you have already practiced that and have put some thoughts into it, also the questions are well developed and in the right order. Other advantages are that your brain will react much faster to any customer’s response as you have already went through few different scenarios and got a little used to that kind of situations.
As the time goes by you will most likely get a lot of information from your customers, but you haven’t yet achieved your goal. The first step will help you a lot on the longrun, however we will try to do more things that will help you expand your business, why stop here, right ?
Partnering with another business in your niche
Now this might sound bad to you, but it definitely isn’t. I don’t say you should partner with your competitors, but with the businesses that complete your business. I’ll give you an example to illustrate this, imagine you are running a phone repair company and you partner with a company that is selling phones. Simply by including a business card of that company for every purchase you will increase their sales without losing your own customers, same goes for them. This way both companies will be increasing sales without losing any of their customers. Start looking for companies in your industry or similar industries to partner with, checkout their reviews, their website, partnerships to get an idea of the company. If that company looks good to you and their partnership companies are also in your industry then you’ve got a green light.
The biggest problem when partnering with another company is that you must be the one reaching out. Look for any ways possible to contact the CEO of the company. Once you’ve got it send him/her an introduction email or letter, something that describes well your business and ask if they are interested. Be carefull with the first email because you don’t want to put all the information in this email, the first email is only to check if they would be interested to partner with you, so you should point out a few advantages. When you have their attention you can then propose how the two businesses should proceed.
Always be prepared, have a plan and make it simple. Nobody likes complicated things, especially when it concerns their business and of course their profit. There are many ways that two company can work together, for example including the partner’s product in newsletter emails, promoting them on social networks, etc. However some partnerships go through, but don’t really please your customers. Pay attention to what your customers are saying and what they are thinking about your new partnership. Remember that their thoughts and opinions are very important because it is easier to maintain an already existing relationship with a customer than it is to get a new one.
Get your product published in the press/social networks
Being featured in local press, social networks, magazines or blogs is a great way to build influence and awareness of your brand. The most important step here is defining your ideal customer, in other words how do your future customers look like. By defining your ideal customer you will know exactly who to reach, you will know their age group, gender, jobs, etc. Your ideal customers are people who are most likely to buy your product, so simply by making them aware of your brand and product you are instantly increasing a chance for a sale. When you have a profile of your ideal customer look for newspapers, social network pages and blogs that are targeting that same audience and get your product published there. Find blogs that allow guest posting and publish a post about your product, that will generate more leads to your website and potentially increase your sales.
The best way to find how your ideal customer looks like, what he loves and what he does in his free time is by asking your existing customers. The more you know about your customers the easier it will be for you to reach them and increase your sales. Try to gather contact information of a journalist or editor to get your story published. Find out what kind of publications are written by this specific person, their writting style and their vocabulary. If there are some stories that look similar to yours it can significally increase your chances of getting published. Once you've done your research write an email or letter to that author, try to use their style and vocabulary when writting because the author will know that you have done some research before writting to him/her. If you write a good press release there is a good chance that it will be published with a very few changes.
In all of the previously mentionned options and methods, there may be a lot of rejections, but don't let it discourage and make you feel bad about you and your business because failure is one of the most important things in every success. Keep trying and never give up!