HOME CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER

HOME CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER
Find New Customers and Increase Sales

So where do you start if you are looking for more customers? Learning to generate new sales leads is an essential skill for an entrepreneur.

 You need to understand that the possibilities for finding new customers by using newer Internet techniques like search engine optimization to drive new business to your website.

Understand Your Target Audience. Click link below. 

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Before you can find new customers and increase sales, you need to understand who your customer is, what value proposition you offer to customers, and what your competition is currently offering in the market and where there are gaps for a new entrant.

 In other words, you need to do some market research

"Attracting more customers is really about listening to their needs, not being a solution looking for a problem.  "

There are many existing problems out there that need to be solved that customers are willing to pay for today."

It can be done very quickly and inexpensively by sending surveys to your existing customers using one of the many online survey tools, such as SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang.

You can also get to know the target audience by looking at existing sources of information -- from the U.S. Census Bureau or other government agencies, from trade associations, or from third-party research firms.
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Use the information about your existing customers to develop a target audience for your business in its drive to win new customers and increase sales. . "
Make sure you know who the gatekeepers and influencers are; they will affect the decision makers and you will most likely need to sell to them differently than to the end user."

Determine which key messages, features and benefits matter to each potential market. Tell these customers how your business can help them solve their problems. "In order to have a customer go to your online shop, you have to find a reason why these customers want to come to you," The value proposition has to be spelled out clearly."

Next, you need to figure out where to reach these customers and whether there should be a marketing or advertising plan that goes along with that outreach.

How to Find New Customers and Increase Sales: Generating Sales Leads

There are a variety of age-old staple techniques and newer tools you can use to find new customers and increase sales. It's best to understand the range of choices you have in order to determine which may best help your business reach new customers.

Newspaper readers may not be moved by Internet-based sales techniques. Similarly, business people who are accustomed with hiring only people they know may be better swayed by meeting you at a chamber of commerce meeting than accepting a blind invitation to connect on LinkedIn or Facebook. 

Here is a rundown on the techniques available:
·                                 Cold calling. This is telemarketing without the call center. It's a blind contact with a potential customer who isn't expecting a pitch.  Join local business groups.
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·                                 Networking. This can be done the old-fashioned way, by getting involved in community organizations, such as the chamber of commerce, or attending business functions, such as trade shows. Social functions -- dinner invitations, book clubs, etc. -- can also lead to potential business.
·                                 Connect with Interior Designers.
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·                                  Networking has also taken a 21st Century twist on the Internet, with the rise in popularity of such websites as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Plaxo. Many businesses find that this type of networking, making contacts through friends or former colleagues, can lead to new customers.
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·                                 Develop champions of your products. Use business contacts who have been happy with your products to help generate references and referrals.
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·                                 Once you have sold to them, customers can help you sell to others by offering positive testimonials and leveraging a refer-a-friend campaign created by your business. This technique also employs word-of-mouth marketing. Help customers help you by giving them the ammunition they need to tell your story to others.  "Don't be afraid to ask, 'Is there someone else I can talk to and also help?"
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·                                 Affiliate marketing Leverage your website.  There are all sorts of tools these days through which you can drive potential new customers to your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) -- using keywords and other techniques to make your site appear on the first page of listings on search engines -- has become an art form.
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·                                 There are websites, such as Search Engine Watch, that will keep you updated about SEO techniques. In addition, there are a growing number of paid SEO consultants who can help you use all the tricks and techniques to improve your search results.
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·                                 You can also use a variety of blogs, chat rooms, podcasts, and webinars to generate awareness for your website and company. A website is a dynamic tool not a one-time experience.  The top search engines are constantly updating their algorithms, so you must monitor your website on a regular basis to make sure your keywords are leading customers to you.  Make sure you are keeping your website up to date with fresh content so your customers come back often for more.
·                                 Advertising. Typically businesses are encouraged to spend 3 to 5 percent of their revenue on advertising, but a small business needs to make sure that advertising is effective, Osteryoung says. One way to do this is to ask your customers where they heard about you so that you can measure what is effective. In addition, you also have to carefully pick your markets for advertising to make sure you're reaching your target audience. If you're targeting an older audience, newspaper ads might be the way to go.
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How to Find New Customers and Increase Sales: Sell More to Existing Customers

In order to increase sales, many businesses believe the only way is to find new customers, but a number of experts say that this strategy leaves out an obvious potential source of new sales. It's much easier to get an existing customer to buy from you than to convince a new customer to take the plunge.

"They're forgetting about low hanging fruit -- their existing customer base," says Osteryoung. "If I want to expand sales, the number one place to go is the existing customer base. They already trust you." 

Here's how to increase sales with your existing customer base:
·                                 Bundle products. You can "bundle" a few products or services together for a special price to try to get an existing customer to try some of your other offerings.  Try to promote home security systems.  Look at SimpliSafe for inexpensive
·                                 Devices.
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·                                 Offer inside information. If a customer is eyeing a product but about to put it back on the shelf, make sure you let them know that the product is going on sale the following week. If you monitor your website's online shopping cart, you may email an existing customer who didn't complete a sale and offer them a discount to complete the purchase.
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·                                 Think about customer rewards. Like the airlines have done with frequent fliers, there is no reason a small business can't reward good customers with a loyalty program. Offer a discount on their birthday or for every 10 purchases give them one for free.
·                                 Give free samples. Offering freebies isn't necessarily going to cost you an arm and a leg, but it can increase sales by engendering good feelings among existing customers, convincing them to pass on the sample to a friend or family member, and/or convince them to buy your latest hand cream or ice cream flavor.
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"There's a lot you can do that doesn't require much more work," Osteryoung says. "You want to make sure you have saturation but obviously you never want to alienate the customer…. You never want to make the customer feel like you are hard selling them."

Recommended Resources
Dale Carnegie 
Practical principles, processes, and programs that offer people the knowledge, skills and practices they need to influence and sell to customers

Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association
Trade association for word-of-mouth marketing to attract more customers



Find New Customers
Jeff Ogden's whitepaper on How to Find New Customers and more

Related Links
How to Use E-mail to Find New Customers
Strategies to use e-mail to build your business

Use an Affiliate Program to Snag New Customers
Use an affiliate program to get your existing customers to recommend your business to their circle of contacts.

How to Hire an SEO Consultant
A primer on how to hire an outside consultant to help you maximize your search engine optimization.

Drive Traffic to Your Business Blog
How to use a blog on your business website to find new customers.

The Return of Customer Loyalty
A veteran entrepreneur explains why it's more important than ever to keep the customers you already have

Teach Your Employees to Focus on Your Best Customers
Teach your employees to know who your best customers are and provide employees with techniques and tools to uncover customer preferences and make every customer interaction count.


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