So, you’ve started a business- your website has launched, your products and services are ready to go and the sign in your window now reads “OPEN”. But after you’ve done all of the legwork to get your business up and running, how do you find the customers that will actually hire you or patronize your business? Well, here are a few ways to make connecting with new customers a little less challenging:
(1) Start a Casual Conversation
One of the easiest and most overlooked ways to get customers is to strike up a casual conversation with just about anybody that you encounter in your day to day life, from your Starbucks barista or your dry-cleaner to your UPS delivery person or someone at the gym. People love to talk about themselves, so ask them a question and then, look for natural ways to work your business into the conversation. You can take this a step further by thinking about your ideal target customer and where that person might hang out. Then, go to those places and start talking! When people are relaxed and engaged in a two-way conversation, they’ll be more receptive to hearing about your business, as it won’t feel like you are trying to “sell” them. Fantastic customer relationships can emerge from the most unlikely conversations.
(2) Follow the Golden Rule
It may sound basic, but treat others the way that you would like to be treated. I am a big advocate for finding ways to be helpful to others without expecting anything in return. Others are much more inclined to purchase from or spread the word about those individuals or businesses that they know, like and trust. So, when you genuinely help someone, you will be top of mind when they need the service that your business provides or know someone that wants a product that you sell. And pay compliments and praise when they are deserved. A simple, kind gesture can turn a stranger into a long-time customer and fierce advocate on behalf of you and your business.
(3) Use Business-Related Conversation Starters
Like I mentioned in point number 1 above, casual conversations can lead to meaningful customer relationships. Another way to get those conversations started is to catch the public’s attention with brand-related conversation starters. More common examples of this can be wearing a company tee shirt or cap with your brand logo on it while you are out running errands. This makes for an easy conversation starter and you can even hand out your swag as you wrap up your conversation (because, hey- who doesn’t like free swag?). Using something like a tee shirt allows for even more reach, as that person wears your shirt and has the potential to start conversations with others. You can get even more creative with this idea to really get business conversations started, like driving around in a vehicle decorated with something related to your business (think the Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile!), or with a more affordable option like putting a sign on your car door. Get creative- the more unusual, the more likely it will prompt a conversation with a potential new customer!
What other tips do you have for connecting with new customers? Please share them below.
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and an on-air contributor for the national cable television station CNBC, the preeminent name in business news. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics.
Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure.
It inspired me to go pick up Dan Kennedy's No B.S. Wealth Attraction book off of my bookshelf and go to Chapter 9 titled - Be Somewhere.
I think you might like what he says in it Carol . . .
In the midst of one of his dark periods, when the news media was filled with stories of his financial demise, Donald Trump talks about feeling like just staying hidden at home but instead strapping on his tuxedo and going to an important gala--because he knew he could not possibly gain by staying home.
At a time, some 25 years or so ago, when I was captain of a company everyone in its industry knew to be in deep and dire financial circumstances, I considered skipping that year's convention. But I didn't. It might have been less stressful, less embarrassing, and more comfortable to stay home. But I couldn't possibly gain doing that.
I put myself where it was at least possible that good, productive, profitable things could happen, and they did.
Hopefully, you aren't in the upside-down financial condition I was, or Donald Trump was, at the above mentioned times. But regardless of your circumstances, you have to make a point of putting yourself in places where opportunity can occur.
My father passed on a pair of cuff links to me with the letters YCDBSOYA. They stand for: You Can't Do Business Sitting On Your Ass.
Although this refers to personal movement and placement, such as the meetings, conferences, cocktail parties, and community events you attend and make yourself visible at, it also goes far beyond that.
As example, consider this book and the other 14 books I have written and had published. For more than 14 years I have been on bookstore shelves without interruption. I have worked hard to make that happen.
I can assure not for the royalty income paid to me as an author; that represents less than 2% of my income. I want to be on those bookshelves because people discover me there, people who might never discover me otherwise.
They become Inner Circle members and newsletter subscribers, attend seminars, become private clients, or bring me other opportunities. Being there on bookstore shelves has both directly and indirectly enriched me by millions of dollars.
I can specifically identify more than a dozen long-term clients who have each spent between $100,000.00 and $300,000.00 with me. I have been sought out for speaking engagements purely because a corporate executive bought and read one of my books.
For me, being somewhere includes being on bookstore shelves, being in the book which is now in your office or home.
And you being here Carol and all throughout the other social media you partake in is another example of Being Somewhere.
Thank you for the reminder of such an important lesson. :)