Winning new business is essential for growth, and in the early days as a small business, gaining just a handful more new customers can make a big difference.
But winning new business can be hard, especially if you don’t have a full time sales or business development person. As a business owner, you often end up in a juggling act of managing the day-to-day running of the business, keeping current customers satisfied, and bringing in new customers to grow your business.
Sometimes it pays to take a step back and remind yourself of the simple things you could be doing to increase your chances of winning new business for your company.
1. Get inside the heads of your ideal customers
When was the last time you sat down and thought about who your ideal customers are?
If you’re in the B2C space, how old are they, what life stage are they in, and what are their interests? For B2B companies, what job role do your ideal customers have and what kind of companies do they work for? What are the challenges and pain points they face on a daily basis that your product or service would solve for?
It’s important to think about how much customers are willing to pay for your product or service too. Then there's the criteria they use when choosing a product or service like yours. What would make them choose one company over another?
All of this insight puts you in good stead for developing marketing messages and content that will successfully connect with your target audience.
You need to think about where to find your ideal customers too. What social media sites and networks are they part of? What events are they attending? Having this knowledge will ensure you can get yourself out there and in front of your ideal customers. If you don’t know who they are or where to find them, how can you expect them to find you?
2. Differentiate yourself from the competition
To win business you need to stand out from the competition. Do you have a clear unique-selling-point (USP)? Are you communicating this to your target audience on your website, on social media, when you meet people in person?
You can immediately differentiate yourself by developing a unique value proposition. A great value proposition will be targeted to your ideal customer, define the problem you solve, and explain why you’re different from the competition.
3. Refresh your website
Often, your website is the first place your potential customers will go to when researching your company, products or services - and first impressions count. To maximise your chances of converting those visitors to your site into paying customers, you need to make sure your website is working as hard as it can to tell people what you do and how you do it.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. When they visit your site, is your content clear, informative and helpful? Is it easy to navigate? Are you getting across everything your customers will want to know, and in a powerful and engaging way?
If your website is outdated or difficult to navigate it can reflect poorly on your company. Although it can be a big investment, improving your website can be a great way to help you showcase the best version of your company and pull people towards buying from you, rather than push them away.
4. Build up case studies and testimonials
People will only buy from companies they see as credible and who they trust. When was the last time you made a purchase without looking at a review or testimonial?
Case studies and testimonials show your potential customers exactly what you’ve done for customers in the past and what you could therefore potentially do for them. So reach out to your existing customers and see if they could write you a short testimonial or feature in a case study. Then share them on your website and use them in conversations with prospective customers.
5. Leverage your existing network
Your existing network can be a great source for getting a positive word out about your business. Referrals make for the strongest leads, so tap into your immediate network and determine who might be a good fit for your product or service. These are the low hanging fruit as you’ve already connected with them and built trust, meaning they will be more likely to recommend your company to their own networks.
6. Build a business referral network
Building a business referral network can be a great way to win new business. You could connect with other companies in your industry that are complementary to yours and form a mutual agreement that you will refer each other’s business to each of your own clients.
You don't have to enter into an official agreement though. Simply by connecting with other professionals in your industry and referring your own customers to them, the chances are you’ll also find them referring people back to your business.
Networking events are a great way to make these personal connections. If you have faith in your business and what you do, talking about your business with others in a friendly and supportive networking environment should come easy. At the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, we believe that business is done better together and this is why we host regular networking events where you can meet with other businesses in the local area. You can check out our calendar of events here.
Plus, by getting to know other business leaders in your community, you can build relationships which may eventually lead to partnerships and bring even more business to your company.
7. Join your local Chamber of Commerce
Becoming a member of your local Chamber of Commerce is a great way to raise awareness of your company. At the Bedfordshire Chamber, we’ve linked thousands of members over the years and what matters most to us is helping our members achieve their goals.
Perhaps you’re also considering exporting as a way to grow your customer base. We have a vast network of regional, national and international partners we can put you in touch with, who can support you with your exporting needs. For example, market research services, overseas visits, export documentation and consular services.
Winning new business isn’t always easy, and all of these solutions require a considerable investment from you as a business owner. But some of them are absolutely fundamental to the longevity of your business. For instance, understanding and profiling your customers and developing your unique value proposition is critical groundwork. Then you need to communicate your USP to your audience through your website, social media, and through building in-person connections with other professionals in your area.
As a member of the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, we can support you in all of these areas to successfully grow your business. If you would like to find out more about becoming a member of the Bedfordshire Chamber including the specific benefits you'll have access to, get in touch.