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7 ways to acquire more customers

Wednesday, 4 March 2020 10:59 AM | Sales and marketing

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From identifying your customer to getting your product in front of them and growing through referrals - here are our member's tried and tested tips.

There will usually come a time when growing your business that you will need to define your sales process, and the process by which you will actively acquire new business. It will usually not be enough to rely on referrals and inbound leads, and you will have to identify the skills your team needs to develop to drive growth at the right speed, and in the right direction.

Customer acquisiton 

  • Are your clients coming from the right sector?
  • Big corporate -the individual may not necessarily care about the end cost, but will utilise negotiation skills to achieve best value from you to potentially further their own career
  • SME (director /shareholder) -will squeeze the margins as it may feel like money com ing out of their own pockets!
  • Consider sector buoyancy and target new clients based on trends
  • "Fire bullets until you've found your target and then fire cannonballs" -test strategies and tweak and recalibrate before you throw resource and money at it
  • Recommended marketing tool for researching prospects: http://www.alfinsi&;iht.com/
  • Recommended scraper for extracting Linkedln search data to a spreadsheet: http://www.scrapingexpert.com/
  • Recommended lead sourcing agencies: http://www.retrievernewbusiness.co.uk/
  • App: I Get You Pro - enables you to profile customers, employees, team members and colleagues to determine how best to communicate with them
  • App: Charlie - sends you a one pager of who you're going to meet with, before you see them
  • App: Crystal Knows - gives you personality information for everyone you contact


  • If you can't get someone's attention, send something eye-catching. What's the worst that can happen? They can either continue not talking to you, or they'll finally talk to you! Be creative.


  • Invite potential customers to a 'fact finding' event, where you can probe them for information on how to win their business, and build a pre-sales relationship.
  • Sponsor events, such as award ceremonies (just make sure you target the right awards depending on who it is on the business you need to meet) as this gives you access to room full of people to connect with and hopefully work with in the future
  • Create events that aren't about selling (could be a dinner or a seminar) -do 2/3 each year and invite clients/prospects and contacts you have. The people at the event may do business together as a result of your event and will remember where they met them. Be open and share as much as possible -if you give, you get 
  • Try to ensure that your network is built up of decision makers so that you always have the right point for the businesses that you'd like to work with 

Build relationships

  • People buy from people -get to know something about the person that you are trying to work with and fully understand the business and you will build a much stronger rapport that could lead to business
  • Create great stories about your business from incidents -these will help you sell your business and give you an edge on your competitors

Find the pain

  • Search for negative sentiment on Twitter and target them!
  • Try cold emails explaining the pain people feel, hence the reason they use your services. Test a few different messages and see what works best
  • Send a self-auditing tool so they can identify the pain themselves

customer acquisition

Go to market strategies

  • Selling to big companies first can be risky -Less "care and attention" will be involved from them to make it work
  • Big companies might push you to change the product to what they want, but this can blow the product as it then only works for that one company
  • If you give the product away for free at first then it must be controlled - can lose its value otherwise
  • Letting your customers choose you rather than you are choosing your customers can cause problems. Selecting a customer to sell to can mean that the management of it is easier due to repeated requests/ similar needs


  • Things to think about -are you an exclusive partner? Is your partnership focused?
  • Beware you becoming solely reliant, or too reliant on one client. You might scale up based around the partnership which could leave you vulnerable if the partnership ends
  • If you are partnered with a larger company you may feed them ideas for new products etc. They rarely act on these suggestions so think about going ahead and doing it yourself


  • If you don't ask you don't get, so just be confident and ask the question. Educate your clients so that they are clear on who to refer and make the process simple and quick
  • Market yourself as a business who grows on referrals
  • Swap referrals
  • Find out what they value and offer that
  • Consider a ratchet system -refer 5 people and receive X, 10 people and get Y
  • You must make someone love your brand for them to consider referring. Super advocates are what you need, ensure that they also benefit for being super and continue to spread the word.If they stop then the special treatment also stops
  • If your product is going to offices ensure that there is something for people to hand out to their friends so a buzz is created, but ensure it's easy for the friends to use
  • Don't underestimate the tactic of a small gift
  • Sending something as simple as a thank you card can create an impression and aid repeat sale
  • Give gift, cash, present of some sort for a qualified lead
  • Offer discount for x qualified leads

The process

  • Ensure you have a simple referral plan in place. Learn how to ask and position what you do and have accountability for the results
  • Set up a meeting with a clear agenda if you' re looking to get referrals, make it personal
  • Ask yourself if they clearly know what it is you do. Why would they want to make a referral for you?
  • You must be very specific on what a good referral looks like. Paint a picture for someone
  • Make it easy for people to be able to describe what you do. People will like to be able to slot you in 'a box' when thinking about your business
  • Ask people 'do you know of anyone else that has the same problem as you?'
  • When getting a referral, you need the actual introduction, not just a name, this makes all the difference
  • You need the person to speak to the referral first but you can write an email for them for them to send so it's minimal effort for them. Ensure you're cc' d so you can just write back, but make sure you thank the person for the intro. Keep your email short so you can revert to speaking or meeting to discuss the detail
  • Draw out the pain when describing the challenge that you're going to help them with. People are bombarded with choice and people make the wrong decision every day, so help them out, make sure this doesn't happen to them
  • If someone had made an introduction and the referral does not have back to you, go back to the person that made the referral and check if there is something you should be aware of as to why you've not had a reply. There is always a reason
  • If people are making inbound calls you need to establish if you are one of a number of companies they are considering, if they are you probably don't want to be considered as they'll probably just go with the cheapest
  • Graze have a token in each box that relates to the person who bought it -they hand it to a friend and the friend enters the token online and gets a discounted box. At the same time, the referrer gets a free box as a thank you
  • Bose put small cards in their boxes that you can hand to others, but there is no incentive. You do it because you trust the quality and want to recommend

Getting your team into a referral mind-set

  • Create a culture for referrals by gamifying it. E.g. for 1 month each team member must ask for a referral. If at the end of the month everyone has done this, you go for a great meal. If you miss, even by 1 then you go somewhere terrible for dinner and the person that got the least must pay
  • There is no such thing as saying, 'you've not had the time to ask' you've just not made the time. Get into the habit of asking
  • Always go where the relationship is. The sales person that made the sale should be asking for the referral, it shouldn't just be the responsibility of t he account managers
  • During the sales process don't be afraid to ask
  • Sales people today are dependent on marketing to generate leads now which isn't ideal
  • Keep people informed during the referral process as its good for people to know they have made a great referral for you

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