There are many ways to get noticed by prospects and current clients for free or very little cost. Here are three of them.
1. Get on the phone and call your 21 best customers or prospects
… and ask them what they need and want rather than selling what you think they need to them. Talk to them and ask them questions about what you do for them and what they’d like done. Make them feel special and also find out what their current needs are – they may be different now from when they first bought from you. Act on what they say.
If you can, get out and meet your customers, especially the ones that bring you in the most profit. Look carefully at your accounts and you’ll see that about only 20% of your clients give you 80% of your income. Build and maintain these relationships, and think about dropping the rest. Use your meetings to try to get a buying decision.
If you can’t get out to meet your customers or can’t get them on the phone, they may be willing to help you out by filling in an online questionnaire: they’re quick, require very little effort, and you can bribe them with a free report. For example, ‘7 Things you Must Know Before Buying a New Car’, which could be in PDF format. Or you could issue a voucher for them to print off. They get instant access to your ‘thank you gift’ as soon as they’ve filled in the questionnaire.
You can easily build your own questionnaire for free through sites such as Survey Monkey and Free Online Surveys. You don’t need to know how to code or design; it’s done for you. Even better, you get statistical feedback without having to do it yourself. You can send questionnaires through the post, but many people won’t be bothered unless they’re bored and looking for a diversion, or you have a hefty reward to make it worth their while, and a freepost envelope supplied.
What questions (face to face, by phone or online) will you ask your clients, and how will you thank them for giving you their time?
Try to get two referrals from each client you contact – this can be a natural part of the conversation if you have a good rapport with them. A referral means they recommend you to someone else, or give you someone’s name for you to call. If possible, get them to tell the person you’ll be contacting them, and why.
Upselling means selling something more/extra at the moment they buy from you. You’ll be familiar with the, ‘Would you like fries with that?’ upsell. The initial marketing costs are the same, but at the point of purchase it costs no more to add some sales on. Even if only 16 out of every 100 customers say yes, you have 16 more sales for virtually no extra cost and a few seconds’ effort.
When people buy their first product or service from you, what could you be offering to them that they need/want? (If you have nothing, create it, or team up with someone. For example, if you’re selling houses, you could offer decoration, removal and carpeting services. Amazon are brilliant at upsells, offering you other books you might be interested in, a first class post, and the option of adding gift wrap and a message.)
If you believe that your time can be as an important an asset in marketing your business as money is, you’ll get a lot of free marketing through networking. Yes, you are losing working hours, but if you network well, what you gain should be worth more than what you ‘lose’. Use the networking time to deliver your marketing message to new and current contacts rather than have a cosy gossip with your friends. When we say, ‘deliver your marketing message’, we don’t mean go straight up to someone and start pitching to them!
Find out about people’s business and how you can help them (you may have a contact they can benefit from). When they ask you in turn about you and your business, have your message prepared. Get your marketing in a nutshell (don’t ramble and drone), and speak in benefits rather than features. For example, instead of saying, ‘I’m an accountant’ say, ‘I help businesses save 27% on their tax bills.’ Networking is also great for setting up joint ventures (JVs), or at least finding the contacts for them.
Who do you want to meet, and what will you say at your networking meetings?
We’ll cover more low cost and free ways in the next article.