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Monday, 5 October 2009

12 Ways to Win New Business in a Downturn

Are we in recession or out of recession? Are we in recovery? Who knows? What everyone knows is that it is very tough winning new business at the moment. Of course, doing nothing is not an option. So what do you do? Here are a few hints and tips:

1. Speak to your existing clients/customers and establish if they have any needs in other areas other than the usual area you do business. Where they aware you covered other areas? This will also build loyalty in a time when your competitors will be doing everything they can steal your clients/customers.

2. Improve/raise your personal brand by giving talks to networking clubs, civic groups, Chamber of Commerce etc. Network at networking events. Write articles in the relevant trade press, on blogs, press advertorials. Persuade your local paper to give you a column in which you give useful hints and tips. Get involved in charity work. Don't forget it's not who you know but who knows you.

3. Help your clients and customers find new customers/clients by introductions / referrals, with sales tips and articles. Become a resource. Give value first.

4. Provide legendary client service. Look for the WOW factor, go way beyond the service provided by your rivals/competitors, innovate. Build partnerships with clients. Ensure consistency throughout your whole organisation with training and incentives.

5. Use the power of the Internet/Social Media. Get on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, You Tube. Optimise your ranking on Google with Search Optimisation. If you don't know how to do this get a specialist company involved. Get involved in Ad Words and Pay Per Click via Google.

6. Use Blogs/Email Newsletters to build loyalty/followings and to extend your range to prospects.

7. Sharpen Your Saw. Read books, listen to CD's, podcasts, subscribe to relevant blogs and email newsletters. Increase your knowledge every day. Write something everyday. Remember writing is the source of all wealth.

8. Use humour in your presentations, your literature, your presentations. People love to laugh and will be more receptive to your message.

9. Avoid cold selling at all costs. It hardly ever works. Make people seek you out. Make warm contacts and nuture warm prospects with networking and email newsletters.

10. Perservere. It takes 6-8 contacts with a prospect before they will be ready to buy.

11. Work harder and longer than all of your competitors/rivals. Stop whining, whinge-ing and complaining. Take responsibility for your own actions. You are where you are today because of your own actions. People will promote / give you a pay rise if they absolutely have to and only then. Make a sure-fire case. Make your bosses worry that they will lose you. Don't blame others eg. your boss, your health, your wife, your energy levels, your line manager. Just get fighting. You only have one life. Don't waste your time watching endless repeats and mindless pap on the TV. Use your evenings constructively. Get up an hour earlier and get blogging.

12. Be flexible and creative in your quotes for new business. People are looking for bargains. There are many ways to skin a cat. Use your imagination to differentiate.

Oh that all sounds like hard work. Yup! Sure is. Sheer hard graft. I'm sorry but that is where we find ourselves. However, follow the majority of the advice above and you will be amazed how fulfilling your life will become. Trust me, I am living this advice.