For any business to survive, it is essential that the client base is constantly growing. Even when times are good, successful businesses keep their eyes on the future, and don't rest on their laurels. But tracking down and reaching those potential customers can be a bit of an obstacle course, especially if you don’t have an effective action plan. Much like establishing any strong relationship, customer base building takes time, effort, and a little buttering up in an attempt to build genuine rapport and ultimately seal the deal.
6 Tips to Grow Your Customer Base
- Fully understand the type of customer you want
Now, growing your client base isn't easy, but it's easier to grow a base randomly, for lack of a better term. That said, it's also a lot less valuable. Meaning, think about exactly who you'd consider to be your ideal customer. What do they like, want, and/or need? What actions do you want them to take? Your customer base probably isn't every human walking the planet, so there's no need to try to appeal to everyone. Hone your skills, perfect your messaging, and understand your perfect buyer so that you can put your best foot forward in trying to reach them specifically.
- Team up with other businesses when it makes sense
Partnering with a business that offers a different service, but still appeals to your potential customers is the perfect way to expand your client base. Look to your partner network; is there a story there that can be shared to promote both businesses? For example, over a year ago, Xactly paired up with BigMachines, Salesforce, and DocuSign to produce a webinar called "Quote to Contract to Commission to Cash in the Cloud." This webinar explained how an integrated sales solution is key to the modern, mobile sales force. All four companies benefitted from sharing their portion of the story and presenting to a larger audience.
- Offer support by being present and a part of the conversation
Where can you meet your potential customers? Being supportive doesn’t mean simply answering questions and queries; though this is important. In addition, make it a point to be a social presence that customers can count on. Meet your customer base where they are. Are your customers active in online forums? In certain LinkedIn Groups? Are they asking questions and starting conversations on Quora? Consider familiarizing yourself with these forums and others relating to your specific industry. Or perhaps there's a publication that is highly regarded for the industry. Find out how you can submit content or place ads with the publication.
- Use a Business Referral Program
Business referral programs allow you to use the assistance of another company or person to make a connection. Networking is extremely powerful, but many times that one ideal customer is just out of reach. These programs will get you that introduction you need to sell to that customer.
- Provide a win-win situation for your customers
Ultimately, everybody wants to win. Sounds great, but what does that really mean? When your business provides a win-win situation, then the customer risk is very low, resulting in a positive experience. For example, explaining what happens after a sale by reassuring potential customers of the on-going support they will receive helps to ease concerns and build trust in the process.
- Don’t be afraid to ask
Did a customer have a positive experience? Asking them to spread the word isn’t wrong, and it is the most effective path to more potential customers. Asking for case studies, quotes, or reviews on popular review sites can keep the customers coming.