Who are your potential customers and where to find them?

- Keith Brown

If you want to generate new prospects where do you start? Ask yourself the question, “Who are my potential customers?” Are they senior citizens or teenagers, or somewhere in between? Maybe your prospect is the grocery shopper, the fitness fanatic, cyclists or mothers with babies. Perhaps you are involved in supplying goods or services to business, doctors, accountants, plumbers, photocopier users, stationary consumers, restaurants and so on. If you know who your potential customers are then you are halfway to knowing where you can find them.

Knowing who your market is then begs the question “Where and how do I communicate with prospective customers?” This question is relatively simple for the local butcher who provides for households in the immediate area. They can advertise in the local paper or organise a suburban leaflet distribution to generate interest. But it is not always that simple.

The best strategy is to use common sense. Choose the medium that best suits. Are you a mass marketer or a niche marketer? Mass market media includes newspapers, magazines, radio, television and letterbox distribution. A motor vehicle dealership would generally advertise in the specialist section of the local paper where we all know they can be found. Swimming pools and spas are best advertised on television as the visual effect of waving palm trees, sunshine etc. is important. Hardware stores use catalogues via letterbox delivery, with lots of illustrations and price specials. If you are marketing to businesses then the Australia Post Unaddressed Mail Service delivers material to businesses via street or PO Box in selected areas.

On the other hand if you are into niche marketing maybe Yellow Pages is a source of the appropriate type of business or perhaps renting a suitable business list from a reputable list broker. And of course there are many magazines relevant to specialist markets.

Looking for new prospects and converting them to customers is an ongoing requirement as your current customer base is always eroding. It may be the competition offering a better deal, a change of address or new management. Whatever the reason your client base, if not continually topped up, will diminish and as a result so will your sales.

In your search for new customers don’t forget to stay in touch with your current customers..we all love to feel wanted! Touch base at least every three months. eNews are currently popular, snail mail is very effective and the occasional phone call never goes amiss. The proven theory is that it is many times more effective to generates additional sales from your current customers than it is to prospect for new ones. So if you don’t have a client list build one and communicate with it regularly. You will be surprised at the success of this strategy.