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How to find clients

Let's talk about how to find new customers – that's really a tough one, isn't it? Especially since you hoped that you could just stay forever in your good old comfort zone.

Here's a bunch of good questions to ask to see whether people are qualified for becoming your customers:

1. What kind of problem does your company solve for other businesses? It's a simple question, but tough to answer because we have a tendency to focus on our offers, rather than on our customer's needs. Somehow we expect people to find that out by themselves. By answering this question you are forced to look at your offer from the customer's point of view. The customer is not the least bit interested in hearing your services listed, but rather to get their problems solved. If there are no problems, there are usually no needs to fill either.

The ”problem” must be easy to understand. Our clients are not experts in our area of ​​expertise. In that case, they had been competitors, not customers. To reach customers, we need to be ”idiot proof”, ie. so clear that anyone understands what problems we solve.

2. Which companies are suffering the most from this problem? With this issue, we present our prospect list from the right angle. The companies that are suffering most from the problem we can solve, is most likely to become our customers. Another trap we can avoid by answering this question is the assumption that ”all companies likely suffer from the kinds of problems we solve”. Sure, that's possible, but it’s hard to know where to start. Focus by starting with those who ”suffer the most”. The purpose of the question is to get an appraisal of the company that allows one to look for them in a customer database, yellow pages or other files. A list of 10 companies is a good start.

3. What impact can the problem have on the customer? (Economically? Productivity? Image?) The aim is to fundamentally understand the customer's needs. If we can manage to formulate possible consequences, we have thought far enough. There should be at least one clear impact per company on the list.

4. Who in the company has the greatest interest in solving the problem and can make the decision to buy a solution? The aim is to have a role or a responsibility that you can ask for at a corporate switchboard.”I'm looking for the finance manager” or ”I'm looking for the person responsible for the canteen.”

(A check question which also may be helpful to ask yourself is this):
Are there any special conditions in your offer to deliver to the customer, such as a specific technical environment, a particular organization or market? The answer helps us to weed out unnecessary contacts with companies who can never buy our product/service, even if they suffer from the problem and we can solve it.

With the help of this checklist you will receive:

• A list of ten companies that should be interested in meeting you.

• Good arguments for why every business should be interested in your company.

• Designated contacts that should be in favor of you calling them.

Great, isn't it?

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.