Uncovering new customers is like going on a treasure hunt. Knowing where to look gives you a head start, but you still need the right tools. Just keep digging until you discover the gold. Business development takes time, effort and resources. Soliciting new business is an ongoing process for a new or established company.
Ways to Solicit New Business
Online Social Networking
Facebook, Twitter and MySpace are examples of social networking groups. Develop a profile that focus on personal interests but include your professional and business information as well. Find friends or followers by using keywords such as the city you live in, sports teams you follow, or hobbies. Look for questions that relate to your business and respond with informative answers, and of course a link to your business site.
Online Business Networking
Google+, Ryze and LinkedIn are all focused on business, although Google+ is somewhat social as well. Create profiles on business networking sites that emphasize your professional experience and the benefits of your business. Join groups where new clients might participate. For example, if you're an attorney, join an entrepreneur group.
The choices are nearly endless. If you put your mind to it you could have a meeting two or three times a week, every week. Start with joining the chamber of commerce, professional associations and general business groups. Expand by joining special interest groups and organizations.
Advertising costs money, both for the development of the ad and placement in media sources. Press releases cost time and effort to write, but if they're picked up you don't pay for the media space. Create a series of press releases that emphasizes your expertise. Reporters will soon come to you for comments.
Think about events potential new customers might attend. Select a non-consumable inexpensive giveaway that has your company's logo and contact information. Distribute the items to attendees at the event. For example, if you provide accounting services, you might give away a free calculator. If you're a pet groomer, consider a cloth that traps pet hair.
Create contests to increase the visibility of your business. Relate the contest to the business. For example, if you own a pet shop, a cutest, ugliest, or funniest pet contest would be appropriate.
Supporting a charity event brings media focus on your business. Announce the event before it takes place through press releases, flyers and websites. Coordinate the event with your business. If that's not possible, contributing to a food bank or homeless shelter is always appropriate.
Many types of businesses lend themselves to live demonstrations. If you're a florist, consider assembling a flower arrangement in front of a women's group. Record the demonstration and upload it to a video platform and your website
Blogs allow visitors to your website to interact with you, or your staff, personally, even though you aren't face to face. Consider how your product or business solves the customer's problem. Post helpful hints.
Most trade shows aren't for selling products directly but to expose the product to new customers. Create your trade booth so it's eye catching. Give attendees a reason to come over. For example, everybody has a fish bowl to collect business cards. Cover the inside of your fish bowl with $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills. Use a water-soluble white glue and you can remove the money afterward. People will come over to see if the money is real.