It is said that there are only three ways to grow a business – I’m personally not too sure how true that is. However having said that, I am sure that one of the most critical of these is to find new customers.
Now it is also said, that there are many different ways to find a new customer, and I have no doubt that we can all list them, in great abundance. Some of them are the methods that we use to get new customers and others are the ways that other people have used as they tried to make us new customers. Most of those though, have irritated the S*&t’s out of me!
I’m not too sure why this is – perhaps it is because when I answer the phone, it is because I would like to chat to a friend, or a client (especially if it is out of the norm of working hours) and that is my expectation. Or perhaps it is because, when I hear a knock on the door, when I open it I expect to see a friend, not someone wanting to sell me something that I don’t actually want – again that is my expectation!
I not to keen on getting thousands of e-mails either (currently I am up to between 120 and 150 a day – which means about 30 are actually mails from friends, family and clients – the rest are just spam!) and I am not too keen on getting hundreds of SMS’s either (this seems to be the latest trend).
Actually, now that I think about it carefully, I am at my most comfortable state, when my expectations are met and I am prepared for what is happening. That for me is when I am at a networking meeting. You see there, my perception is that I will be meeting like minded people. That is people who are serious about doing business. People who are serious about expanding their data bases.
At most networking events (well the ones that I attend anyway), I meet people who are not only potential customers, which, let’s face it, are not only important for my business, but also my personal needs. Often these people, who may never ever become one of my customers, have key centres of influence in their families, their communities, their business associations and even their churches. These people become very important to me because of the value that they add to my clients.
You see every single one of them have their own data bases, and every single one of them reach a lot of people, and every single one of them are an important source of referrals. Referrals, as customers to me and referrals as a value add to my clients.
So to all of you who believe in the telemarketing way to get new clients (and I am not knocking it you understand) and to all you people who like to do the ‘cold calling’ thing (and again I am not knocking it) and all of those who choose to ‘spam’ everyone with e-mails and SMS’s – (and it works for some), I say good luck to you.
Me – I will continue to attend my various networking events that I go to and I will continue to network, in my personal capacity as I meet people at parties and social events, and I will continue to grow and expand my data base – one person at a time.