Dec 142011
 

You need to get people in the door to be able to sell to them!

Before you can make any sales you need to attract leads to your business. Leads are not customers, they are only potential buyers, or prospects, because they haven’t bought from you yet. What we’re going to look at here are a few examples of how you can attract prospects through your door. Some of the ideas will be better for people selling products, others for those selling services. Regardless, they are all tried and tested methods that will improve your business.


Local newspapers

Often free and distributed around the local area. Ideal if you run a business that deals primarily with the local population. When you write the advert don’t use your business name in the headline but put a call to action instead to make people do something. Aim to have your ad on an early right hand page (statistically more likely to be noticed) and never pay the initial price quoted by the paper’s representative – always haggle it down.

Trade journals

A great idea for those selling business to business and a great way of raising your profile and becoming known as an expert. Bias towards writing short articles rather than just putting adverts in as this builds credibility and will be seen as helpful to others (and so will get read by more people).

Piggyback mailings

If you know or work with another business that is complimentary to yours but not a competitor (eg a hairdresser and a nail bar) then work the relationship. Put flyers in their shop with unique offers targeted at their customers and do the same in reverse in yours. Suddenly you’ve doubled the size of your prospect list.

Internet

Web pages and internet presence can be set up very cheaply and can prove very effective but usually takes time. Get a website registered and running as soon as you can (even if it’s just a simple site) because age matters to the search engines. They take little notice of sites less than 6 months old. Once it is up and running make sure you keep it up to date. Write articles on other related sites with links back to your own as this helps with search engine optimization (SEO).

Car signage

Today, cars can be fully wrapped in adverts and can be a great way to advertise your business because it’s still quite uncommon so makes an impact. Use bold and bright colors and don’t forget to put phone numbers and web details in prominent places – especially on the rear.

Networking

People buy from people they know and trust and networking helps to build that trust. Also, get involved in the management of networking groups you attend as that helps to make people see you as an important member of the group and gives you a great excuse to talk to people. Always spend more time listening to others than talking about your own business.

These are just a handful of ideas that you can use to generate leads for your business but it gives you an idea of the flavor of different ways you can approach the issue. As a final point; if you’re going to run a good business you need to be testing and measuring the results from all of these ideas. Why? Because if you don’t then you will have no way of knowing what is working for you and how much you’re improving things by.