If you’re one of the legions of women out there running home-based businesses, chances are that at some point, you’ve hit the wall with regards to finding new clients. You’ve had lunches, parties, coffees, get-togethers with every friend, relative and neighbor you can think of. You know that you’ve asked everyone you personally know to either buy your goods and services or to refer someone they think might benefit from them. When you’ve exhausted your inner circle, where do you go to get more clients?
Most of the direct sales companies have a ton of training and coaching to help you figure out where to find your clients. Chances are, you already know how to do all those things, but still are finding it hard to just get started again. It’s time to get outside of your inner circle of friends, but that also means getting out of your comfort zone. And that can be a little tough, since it means facing rejection, etc. But it’s also where all the possibilities for growing your business are!
Here are four easy steps you can take to finding more clients and growing your business:
1) Make sure you know who your target market is. You need to know exactly who your customers will be, where they shop, what they buy, what they read, what’s most important and most challenging for them, etc. Is your product or service something that mothers of young children would buy? Or is it something that would benefit professionals who have recently been laid off or down-sized? By clarifying who your ideal clients are, you’ll be better able to determine the next step: how to reach them.
2) Get in front of those potential customers–this can be asking friends/family for introductions to others, or attending a conference/tradeshow/event (like International Women’s Conference, a job fair, etc.) where your target audience might be, or joining groups that your target audience is a part of (professional networking groups like Chambers of Commerce, online groups like facebook or LinkedIn, playgroups, health clubs, whatever) so you can get exposure to these people and build trust and rapport with them. And when you’re in these situations, ASK FOR THE BUSINESS! “Do you know anyone who might be willing to host a party…?” or “Can you think of someone who could benefit from …(your offering here)…?” Yes, this approach takes time, but your business development is a continual process and building your network will yield the results you want. People love to buy from people they like, know, and trust.
3) Find a friend, colleague, buddy or a coach to support you in your business. If you’re doing it all alone, chances are you have little support and less accountability with regards to achieving the results you want. When you’re pushing yourself to go beyond what’s already comfortable and familiar to you, it makes sense to get some support so you don’t get overwhelmed and give up. If you can partner with someone who knows your goals and the two of you can support each other, it makes getting out there and doing the tough stuff so much easier!
4) Find an ally. For instance, if you’re a yoga instructor looking to expand your client base, you might find your next 20 clients by partnering with a wellness facility, an organic farm co-op, a health and nutrition store, or a fitness center. This doesn’t have to be any “formal” business partnership. Request an introduction to the manager/owner of the organization, set up an informational interview, and discuss the benefits you could both receive from referring clients back and forth to each other. Consider offering a discount or a bonus to clients that come from this alliance.
Are you trying to find new clients? Tell us your strategy. What was the best source of new clients you found?