It’s not difficult to find information on how to land new customers. Seminars, books, blogs and videos from sales and marketing leaders provide ample knowledge of the tips and tactics that work for securing new business.
But much of this knowledge focuses on the practical—and standard—methods for attracting your target audience and converting leads to paying customers. In some cases, however, the most effective ways to get new business might actually seem counterintuitive. Take a look at a few out-of-the-ordinary tactics that could help you land more business.
Offer a Taste of Your Expertise
“If I’m in discussions with a potential client, I contact one or two editors who accept byline articles and ask whether my prospect’s area of expertise is something they’d want to read about in a self-written article,” says Michelle Damico, founder of Michelle Damico Communications, a public relations consulting firm based in the greater Chicago area. “If the editor says yes, then I bring that opportunity to the prospect, who's usually impressed that I did some legwork even before landing their business.”
While many PR professionals advise against giving away services before actually signing a client, this bold move is a smart way to prove your value to prospective clients. As Damico says, “It validates my news instincts. It also quickly shows the prospect that I know how to make the contacts he or she needs.”
Offer Invitation-Only or Exclusive Access to Services or Information
Max Galka, co-founder of Revaluate, a New York City business that provides "background checks" on Manhattan real estate properties to help people find the right home, says his company’s website was initially available on an invitation-only basis prior to its official launch. “It wasn't intended as a marketing strategy, but we had a lot of people asking us for permission to use the site. And those were the most engaged users we've had,” he notes. “Looking back, we should have left it as invitation-only for longer.”
People feel special when they’re given access to something that few others have. Restricting access places a premium on the value of the product or service in the minds of consumers, so they’re more inclined to take advantage of what they see as a limited commodity.
Raise Your Prices to Increase Value Perception
If you’re struggling to land new customers, raising your prices is probably the last thing you’re considering. But raising your prices can not only result in new business, but it can help attract the right kind of customers who are actually a better fit for your company.
Jeremy Brandt, CEO of We Buy Houses, a marketing and advertising agency in Fort Worth, Texas, that serves real estate investors, says, “We recently changed our licensing model and raised, by a factor of 10, the up-front fee to join our program. Not only is this bringing us more customers through increased perceived value, but it's bringing us the right kind of clients.
“In the past, we had problems with tire-kicker clients who would join our program but not follow through on advertising," Brandt explains. "By changing the model to a significant up-front payment, it ensures the people who join have the resources and dedication to follow through on our system, which ultimately makes them more successful.” Additionally, the more substantial upfront payments provide resources that allow the company to impress new clients with unexpected surprises, a strategy that can boost client satisfaction and encourage referrals and recommendations.
Stop Spinning Your Wheels
To grow your business, many productivity and business development experts point to the 80/20 rule, suggesting you spend 80 percent of your time with the top 20 percent of your clients—your top-tier, VIP customers—or dedicate 80 percent of your sales and marketing efforts to securing those kind of customers, while you dedicate the other 20 percent to your non-VIP target prospects.
But why devote any time to your non-VIP prospects and customers? Sales coach Chuck Bauer, who's based in Carrollton, Texas, advises his clients to spend 100 percent of their time with VIP customers to maximize their revenue potential. By using a formula to determine the true cash value of every hour of his coaching clients’ days, Bauer helps them create an efficient weekly structure that enables his clients to fully monetize their time.
As these examples prove, sales strategies that, on the surface, may seem counterproductive to earning new business have actually been quite effective in helping businesses land new customers. If your usual methods are getting lackluster results, thinking outside the norm, and experimenting with unusual approaches might be just the ticket to reinvigorating your sales—and your business.
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