Acquiring new clients is the bane of many professionals. While sometimes it may be as simple as finding someone looking for a specific product or service to fill a niche, other times it can be more complex. The standard method of getting new clients starts from marketing to the right people down to closing the deal. For many professionals, this may be a chore, especially when their efforts don’t yield the desired results.
However, there are more creative, unique ways to approach this problem. It’s less about directly advertising to the people who’d want your services and more about adding value to a community while gaining industry prominence and visibility in the process. To help sales professionals who have a hard time getting and converting leads, 15 experts from Forbes Business Council explore several creative ways that business development teams can acquire new clients through value-based methods.
1. Offer Value And Education
We found that when we offer potential clients something valuable and educational rather than trying to “sell” them anything, they are more inclined to engage with us. This way, they can learn about our firm without us asking for anything in return. This is a great way to start a relationship which will ultimately result in new business. – Bob Spiegel, Acuity Partners
2. Craft A Business Personality
Craft a unique personality for your business. Reputation is so much more than how your product or service differs from competitors. By taking time to carefully manage your business reputation through developing quality content, profiling company expertise and interacting with your sector on social media, you can attract new prospects and build credible relationships as a thought leader. – Victoria Usher, GingerMay
3. Look For New Ambassadors
Try looking for new ambassadors. Search LinkedIn to surface people who have transitioned from a good customer to a new company. They may not be a decision-maker but they can point you to people who are–and perhaps provide a warm introduction. – Mike Esterday, Integrity Solutions
4. Go Where Your Clients Are
When the clients don’t come to you, you go to them! If the methods of spreading your brand aren’t working then start asking around if anyone could be interested in what you offer. Give them the proper explanation and why it could benefit them. Social media would be your best friend in this process. – Justin Grome, Clonefluence, Inc.
5. Be Clear On The Problems You Solve
Consumers have an infinite amount of choices today. You can try and buy the attention of strangers, which can feel like selling sand in a desert, or you can earn it. We do this by being crystal-clear on the problems we solve and for whom. We then show up consistently, sharing ideas generously and freely to build trust, which eventually will give you a platform for an exchange of value (a sale). – Isabelle Perreault, Differly Inc.
6. Host Virtual Events
A creative way to acquire new clients during Covid-19 is to host virtual events. Invite current clients as well as your top prospects. Your current clients will act as a live testimonial to your company. Hosting a virtual event gives prospects the chance to learn more about your brand on a personal level. It also provides transparency by allowing your prospects and clients to co-mingle together. – Brosnan C. Hoban, Hoban Realty
7. Interview Ideal Customers
Invite people who you think are your ideal customers to do an interview on your YouTube channel or podcast. The channel itself doesn’t have to be popular but it’s an amazing way to build relationships with customers. During the interview you can ask them about the pain points they have in their business and offer a solution to that. – Sardor Akhmedov, Jafton.com
8. Connect With New People Daily
Genuinely connect with and meet new people daily. Once I obtained a client within 48 hours by just chatting with a fellow gym-goer at the water station, and the conversation started out by discussing something other than work! All I did was genuinely want to get to know a new person. – Caitlin Strempel, Rising Ranks Digital
9. Take On A Set Of Clients At No Cost
Offer to take on a set number of new clients you could service or provide your product to at no cost. Service them well. Upon completion, ask for their feedback working with you. Don’t ask them to give a review for the free service or product you provided–if they feel compelled to do so, they will. I have found that, more often, they refer someone to buy rather than providing a review. Ethical actions can be a multiplier. – Paul L. Gunn, KUOG Corporation
10. Ask For Referrals From Happy Clients
I always like to ask for referrals and references from existing and happy clients. No one will be a better megaphone for your business than those who already know and love your business. – Veena Jetti, Vive Funds
11. Run A Freemium Value Prop
Run a freemium value prop that draws a ton of attention related to your target demographic. Have your ideal customer come to you. Once they are wowed by the free offer, the chances of them staying are extremely solid. – Alan Cheung, AKINGS
12. Try A Two-For-One Model
Try a two-for-one model for a short period of time if you are in a service business and see if the extra “one” does not take up a lot of bandwidth. For example, in our tutoring business, if you bring a friend, each person can pay half of the tuition for two months. The existing student will have fun doing the class with their friend while both students only paid 50% of the fee during the promotional period. – Hao Lam, Best in Class Education Center
13. Leverage Word-Of-Mouth
Customer acquisition is always a challenge for any business. However, thinking about how to be the very best in your industry will set you apart and spread the word of your success. Word-of-mouth is the most effective way to acquire new clients. – Swapnil Agarwal, Nitya Capital
14. Invite Them To Join Feedback Sessions
Take advantage of the old adage, “Ask for advice, get money. Ask for money, get advice.” Ask your prospects to participate in product review and feedback sessions. Use those times to get insights on how they are currently solving their problems and feedback on your solution. You’ll find new clients raising their hands. – Kelly McDonald, Kyndoo Inc
15. Join Community Facebook Groups
Community Facebook groups are a great way to understand your nearby communities. You can pitch your services or find specific users asking for recommendations of a business, and if it fits tell them you’re the owner. We’ve found great success by getting involved with the community in these groups. I do prefer to educate and not sell on these groups. Provide insight when you can. – Nick Quirk, SEO Locale