Sales & marketing

The five biggest mistakes people make when looking for new business

For anyone running a small business, prospecting is vital. Every business owner needs to do it. If you’re not winning clients, you’ve not got a business. Plain and simple.

But it doesn’t always come easily and, without some basic knowledge of why people buy, you’re likely to be spending time and energy on prospective clients who are never going to commit.

So, let’s look at the five biggest mistakes people make and what you should be doing instead:

  1. You have no idea who your target market is

In order to bring in new business and make sure you’re not wasting your precious time, you should first be very clear about who your target market is and why they buy from you. Think about:
• What industry do they work in?
• Where are they located?
• What size business are they?
• What challenges and problems do they face?
• What specific needs does your product or service address?

Without this basic understanding of who your ideal clients are, you’re likely to end up casting the net too wide. All that will happen here is you’ll end up either with no clients or with clients who are a bad fit for your business.

One way to define your ideal client is to look at your current clients or a selection of clients who you particularly enjoy working for. Make a list of all the traits that unite them and start looking for similar people.

  1. You don’t know who you should be trying to contact

Once you’ve narrowed down your target market, you need to know how their business functions and who calls the shots before you reach out.

This may be specific to their industry. For example, when reaching out about my sales consultancy service, I know that sales managers are usually a good target because they know the training needs of their staff. However, they may not be the person responsible for signing off on the training budget, so bringing someone higher up or from a different department into the discussion is sometimes needed.

Before making a call or sending an email, do your research. Find out who you need to speak to and what position they hold then reach out to them personally.

  1. You’re not making the most of automation

This can be a tricky one to navigate. Too much automation and you risk missing key interactions or ruining your reputation by spamming prospects. However, using automated posting for social media and emails can really help spread your message, as well as save you time.

The key to automation is to make sure it’s well-targeted. Only send emails to people if you know they’re interested in what you have to say. Only post social media content that is educational or informative for your target audience.

Track your interactions and reach out to anyone who shows continued interest in your offering.

When used effectively, automation can be a really great sales tool.

  1. You’re not following up

Making sales can sometimes mean playing a long game. Sadly, leads won’t just fall at your feet! You need to be actively following up with prospects, nurturing those leads and feeding your future pipeline.

If you’re always finding yourself looking for new people or new businesses to work with, you might be guilty of this. Instead, try looking back through your emails and social media to see who you’ve stopped interacting with. Think about people you haven’t spoken to in a while; this could be a prospect that fell through or a client who hasn’t bought from you recently. Give those people a ring, check in to see how they’re doing and start re-building the relationship.

  1. You’re forgetting about the WIIFM factor

Prospects don’t always care about you and your business. They want to know what’s in it for them. The number one rule for anyone struggling to sell their product or service is to focus on what the client gets and how it helps them.

Julie Futcher
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The five biggest mistakes people make when looking for new business

by Julie Futcher Time to read: 2 min