One of the things I learned early on in business is that no matter how good a month or year you just finished up, you always start the next one back at zero! Whether you are running a for profit business or a nonprofit organization, the bottom line always gets fed from what you are able to generate on the top line, and so it is a constant challenge to generate new sales or donations. For all of us there are no doubt some cyclical or seasonal phases to manage as well, but overall it is a primary responsibility to figure where and how we can build sales.
Over time I have put emphasis on various tactics to bring in new business. This has included targeting new markets, offering new services, or sometimes just increasing the number of calls I make. These can be worthwhile, although by far the most successful strategy is in looking to offer solutions to what are the top challenges faced by your existing clients or markets. Finding out what is important to them, and then offering ideas or resources that can benefit them. In many cases, their number one challenge is exactly the same as yours – finding new business or helping to satisfy their existing clients!
When we start to think like our clients and become immersed in their issues, then the conversation becomes less of a sales presentation and more of a consulting discussion. And the more you learn from one client, the more you have to share with the next. You might consider attending seminars, webinars or conferences for a given market to help you gain understanding, or initiate a survey or focus group to learn specific needs and what others are doing. Over time you will become comfortable in creating your own ideas. This is where the concept of content marketing can now become a real tool for you to generate interest in your solutions.
So while I do not minimize the need to analyze or work on what is important to your own organization, I do suggest that the more time we spend on learning about our clients will ultimately generate more business for ourselves! You will also overtime build stronger relationships that are more than just selling at the lowest prices.
What is it that you know about your clients? And even about their clients?