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Without customers or clients, you have no business. It’s as simple as that.
But then, you must have previously gained some customers to even get to the point of searching for some assistance. Let’s face it, if you had failed to pick up any customers, then you would have thrown the towel in long ago.
So, this particular post is not about helping you gain customers from scratch at the launch of your business. You have already achieved this, so I’d be wasting your time.
Instead, I’m going to focus on something important, and that’s to look at the reasons why you are missing out on gaining more customers. Of course, I’ll also help you out with some tips on how to change things to then allow you to grow your customer base.
With that in mind, by the end of this post, you should have a better idea of how to find prospective clients or customers for your business.
The Need for More Customers
Customers are Linked to Growth and Innovation
The link between customers and growth cannot be argued against. However, for a business to grow, they need to obtain sales from new customers, and not merely rely on their current base.
After all, if you simply keep to your existing base, then you hit a ceiling with your revenue. There’s a need to break through that ceiling in order to make progress. How can you possibly do that without looking at ways to increase that base?
Of course, the number of customers you will require to gain a certain percentage growth varies depending on a variety of factors. It is possible to work out various points according to your business, and a business coach would help you gain a better picture of what must happen for you to achieve your goals.
So, while you may now be more aware of the need for an increase in customer numbers, how do businesses manage to miss out? To answer this, I have several mistakes that are surprisingly more common than you would perhaps expect.
Mistake 1 - Not Having a Strong Online Presence
Even though it’s rare for a business to not have some type of online presence, it’s relatively common for a business to effectively misuse their space online. The most common mistake is to simply not have a strong enough presence.
The problem here is the Internet is the largest marketplace in the world. Your online presence is your shop window for potential new customers to browse past.
A study showed that
You need to get those possible new customers to stop and spend some time checking out what is in your window. But I want you to think about these two scenarios before considering which one would appeal the most to you.
First, you come across a business online that offers something you want. They have scant information available, no apparent reviews or feedback, poor images or none at all, and you have more questions than answers.
Next, you come across another business in the same category. They have a website, social media profiles that are active, clear images or other media forms, reviews, a live chat option, and you come away from this with all the information you need.
Now, which one sounds more appealing?
You see, the point I’m making is an easy one.
Your online presence must be capable of delivering all the relevant information to potential new customers because you cannot be present to answer questions or queries in real time 24/7. The only people capable of doing that are large businesses with the infrastructure or ability to outsource to another company.
A small business seeking to expand their customer base will typically not have this option on the table. That is why your online presence needs to constantly sell your business, services, or products on your behalf. Your presence must encourage people to take whatever form of action you seek from them.
If this doesn’t happen, then you are doing something wrong and, therefore, are missing out on new customers.
How to Resolve the Problem
Resolving this problem is simple. Assess your current online presence to determine the level of information readily available to potential new customers.
Make sure your social media profiles are filled with key information, and make sure they are active. Engage with people on your profiles or pages. Let them know that your business is alive.
Also, pay attention to your website. Does it provide value to the visitor? Will that new customer or client walk away from your website with a better idea of what you are all about? Seek out professional advice on how to improve your site. Also, don’t forget to capture visitors via an email autoresponder and start an email marketing campaign.
Add yourself to directories including Yelp. You would be surprised at how much traffic you could receive from these sources. Remember, the more eyes on your business, the greater the chance that a percentage will turn into new customers.
Mistake 2 - Inefficient Marketing
The next problem is with inefficient marketing. Now, you may think that your current marketing exploits have been working due to you getting your existing customers, but that doesn’t mean it will continue to work in the way you need.
What will often happen is that businesses will continue to market in the same way, which means they are practically marketing to the same people over and over again. You can push your marketing or advertising out there as much as you want, but if you target the same groups over and over, then the chances of growing are limited.
That is what I mean by inefficient marketing in this instance. You are partly doing the correct thing in keeping your name out there for your current customer base. They need to know what’s going on and you must stay prominent in their mind, but staying within that framework restricts growth.
How to Resolve the Problem
So, what do you do in this particular instance? Well, the answer clearly lies in your marketing approach, but it’s a bit more involved than that.
You cannot take the same approach since you will merely get the same answers. This is your time to effectively go hunting with your new marketing strategy.
But what is your strategy?
Well, you cannot have one without becoming aware of where to even locate these new customers. You may have only been marketing your business within relatively few channels, or in a small geographical area. Looking at what you are currently doing, and the restrictions placed upon you, will help to start pushing you in the direction you need to head in.
Consider these simple ideas.
If your Internet presence is not strong enough, then you need to boost that presence which, in turn, markets you to more clients.
Look at the demographics of your current customers to learn as much as you can about age range, location, what they like or dislike, perhaps even their income levels. All of this information can then be used to your advantage when it comes to creating a new marketing plan that can be laser-focused.
So, let’s say you take the time to learn more about your current customers. There is a good chance that those are the types of people you should then target, but you need to know how. Let’s go through an example.
If you discover one major group are females between the ages of 21 to 29 years old. That type of information is golden when it comes to marketing to the right people to gain more customers.
What are the interests of this age group in your area? Where do they hang out? What do they do? How can you then get your brand out there in front of them, so they can easily find you.
Stop using that more generalized approach to marketing that has netted you all your current customers. Become more targeted in what you do in order to gain more customers. Ultimately, it will lead to a better ROI from your marketing budget.
Mistake 3 - Not Growing Your Shopping Experience
In this instance, the term ‘shopping’ is used for not only a physical product but also a service to cover any eventuality.
Today, people love buying things online due to the ease with which they can go through the ‘shopping experience’. They can browse without any interruptions, they have ample items to choose from, and they have different ways to pay at the end.
It all flows well from start to finish.
If you have an online store, then you need to be sure that your webshop provides visitors with that experience. If dealing with a brick and mortar store, then you must become aware of what customers are looking for from a business such as your own.
You must remember that getting a potential customer to step into your physical store is only part of the job. You need to convert them into an individual that hands over money, and that’s where a number of businesses let themselves down.
This mistake is more in line with conversion rates. It’s not about getting your name or brand out there in front of potential customers as we have covered that particular point earlier. So, what do I recommend when it comes to tackling this point?
How to Resolve the Problem
To begin, you must carry out some research into your customers. What do they actually expect or want from their experience of dealing with you? Are you aware of what is going wrong when customers enter your store and walk out without spending money? Do you understand why a client maybe uses your services once and then never comes back?
The only way to resolve the problem of not providing the full-on shopping experience is to know why things are not quite working out.
Now, the list of reasons can be extensive, but here’s a few to get you thinking as to what may very well apply to your own business.
This one is easy. You fail to keep adequate stock levels of certain products, so customers will either spend less or may spend nothing at all. If poor stock control is a regular issue, then people will learn about this and will not become customers.
Poor customer service.
Poor customer service comes in different forms. Perhaps staff were unable to deal with questions or problems in an adequate manner. Sadly, some staff members may not be paying enough attention to potential customers or come across as being somewhat unapproachable.
Basically, you want a customer or client to feel as if they were special at that moment where they were interacting with your business. You need them to feel they were listened to, helped, or a tricky situation was handled in the correct manner. If they fail to perceive these kinds of things, then it’s poor customer service and your business suffers.
But what else can be done, or should be avoided, to solve this issue?
Well I mentioned earlier how people are used to online shopping and the ease with which they can find products, pay for them, and then have them delivered. It flows with few hiccups along the way.
So, look at how you can offer potential customers the same easy way of shopping, but with them in your store.
One method is to combine online with offline. Now, this will involve you getting some expert help, but it can boost the number of customers that venture into your business rather than simply staying online.
Remember earlier when I said one issue was inadequate stock? Providing customers the opportunity to check your physical stock via your website is a wonderful way of stopping them wasting their time in getting to you to then be disappointed.
But it shouldn’t end there.
As well as checking stock online, they should be able to either reserve it for a set period of time, or buy it online with the option of picking it up by physically visiting you.
This option is a wonderful opportunity to entice customers into your store or business. Getting them to come in, even if it is to pick up a pre-existing order, provides you with the opportunity to showcase your customer service skills. Also, it provides the customer with the chance to discover what your store is all about, and who knows what may then happen regarding additional skills.
If you feel you are missing out by not providing a full shopping experience, then don’t just sit there ruminating about it all. Seek professional advice on how to develop that aspect of your business. The difference it can make to your revenue can be astonishing.
Mistake 4 - Not Listening or Paying Attention
Not listening to the market, your industry, and what people want or expect from your line of business is a major faux pas that can be deadly to your business.
As a business coach, it is essential that I listen to my clients. By indulging in active listening, it provides insight into problem areas, expectations, goals, ideas, and everything else that comes together to form the business.
If I didn’t listen intently to what my clients were saying, then how could I ever hope to provide the advice and guidance that could then change that business for the better? How could I offer solutions to potentially major problems if I was only partly paying attention to what was being said?
In those kinds of instances, it would be all too easy to provide the wrong advice or information. The outcome could be a disaster for a client.
So, I see not listening as being a major reason why businesses can be missing out when it comes to trying to gain more customers.
But where are the main problem areas?
Once again, there are other areas, but I merely want to get you thinking about what could be going on and a reason why you are struggling to achieve that customer expansion that you were hoping for.
How to Resolve the Problem
Resolving this problem is simple. You just need to listen more and pay attention to what is going on around you.
Now, you probably believe you already do that, but it’s still an area where improvements could be made. So, here are a few suggestions.
First, dedicate some time to keeping up to date with what’s going on in your industry or line of business. This involves changes in the industry as well as paying close attention to your competition.
Is your competition doing something different that’s getting them more customers? Are they undercutting you? Offering some improvement on services? Going that extra mile and offering customers exactly what they are looking for?
You could be easily missing out on gaining more customers by being behind in the times when it comes to your competition. However, you will never know if that’s the case or not if you simply turn a blind eye to your industry and competition.
Next, please listen to your current customers or clients. Actually, I would recommend being pro-active in seeking out their opinions and getting that feedback.
By doing this, it allows you to tailor your business accordingly and to make those key improvements that will then make you a more attractive proposition to new customers. A true entrepreneur should be willing to listen to others and to learn from mistakes. Criticism can be extremely constructive, but only if you are willing to listen to it in the first place.
Think of it from this perspective.
Say you get customer feedback from a healthy percentage of people. Most are positive and talk highly of what you are doing right. However, a small number bring up the same type of problem, or issue where they were not quite happy.
People that have never contacted your business, or bought anything from you, will see those negative comments and be turned away from spending money. Do you know the saying about how bad news travels fast? Well, it certainly does in the cut-throat world of business.
But this is how you combat this particular problem.
You take that feedback, and make steps to rectify the problem. Then, you actually reply to the feedback where it can be viewed by those potential new clients. State in your reply how you have taken the comments onboard and have then made different changes.
Not only will new customers recognize you are active in trying to improve the experience, but it shows you are listening to concerns and not sticking your head in the sand.
Listen to everything going on around you. Put action steps in place to make sure you do this on a regular basis. Then, take action on what you find out instead of just sitting there thinking about everything and then going back to your old ways.
Your Next Step
If any of the mistakes or points mentioned above sound as if they apply to you and your business, then now is the time to stop things in their tracks and to take the appropriate action. Your business has the potential to grow more than you now, but only when the correct approach is taken.
Make life substantially easier for yourself by contacting a business coach who is capable of advising you on the best strategy for your business and market to get those brand-new customers. Take advantage of my free session by getting in touch today and let’s chat to see how together we can make a difference to your business.