Are you Proactive or Reactive
How do you win new customers? Is it mostly via word of mouth, or do you actively promote yourself and your business?
If you do a good job for people, they tend to start recommending you to others and that means there are times when bringing new customers on board feels effortless.
This is especially true once you’ve been in business for several years.
And yet if you want to keep growing and improving your business, sitting back and waiting for customers to come to you isn’t the best strategy.
When we’re very busy we tend to ease off on promoting ourselves.
But carving out time each week to work on attracting new clients is vital, and this doesn’t simply mean sending out marketing materials – there are multiple different ways you can bring customers into your business.
It’s a good idea to have a number of different strands to your “customer attraction” strategies, so that if one source of clients dries up, you have other avenues you can turn to.
As a starting point, networking can be effective, especially if you can make yourself well known in both your own sector and your own geographical area.
Another tactic, especially if you’re looking for commercial clients, is to draw up your “Dream List” of potential clients and send them a letter asking for a meeting. At this point you only need to persuade them to make time for a meeting, so the letter simply needs to grab their attention and give them plenty of good reasons they should make time for you. And you should always follow up with a call to arrange the meeting.
Do you need referral partners?
If referral partners are key to you, then make sure you are staying in touch with the kind of people who tend to pass work to you.
For example, a residential architect will want to make connections with estate agents, builders and other people in the sector who are likely to come into contact with homeowners who need their services. By maintaining relationships with referral partners, whether through networking or regular phone calls and emailing, or perhaps even with a printed newsletter, an architect can ensure that they are being recommended at the point where people are ready to work with them.
How many times do you need to contact a potential client or referral partner?
Everyone quotes a different number, and it’s not set in stone, but it can take around nine points of contact before someone is ready to work with you. That means it’s critical that you don’t give up too early with any marketing that you’re doing.
Finally, another key part of promoting your services involves entering awards, whether that’s industry awards or local business awards. Winning will give you a boost, but whether or not you win you will still raise your profile and ensure that you become better known in your field.
Myself and my team at Super Structure Associates are currently celebrating our recent award – we were Highly Commended in the Best Business for Innovation category at the Richmond Business Awards.
We won this for our innovative stub-beam solution, which improves house renovation projects by removing the need for costly and time consuming temporary propping and needling to keep the existing structure secure when walls are removed. The judges praised the fact that our solution “reduces costs, materials and time to completion” and praised the fact that we have solved a long-standing problem.
But you have to be in it to win it, and if you’re not regularly entering awards, you can’t possibly win anything.
I’m sure you are already working hard to promote your business, but I hope you can take away at least one or two useful points from this.
And if you are looking for an award-winning structural engineer for your next project, please do get in touch!