How to find clients, develop your client portfolio and increase your turnover? What are the ways to increase your customer base? How do you canvass clients?
Developing one’s customer base is the number one objective of an event agency. The search for customers is a permanent effort: the manager of a small business usually spends more than half of his time on it.
How to find customers as an event agency? Here are the main methods to find customers, as well as their efficiency.
Use market research to find customers
Level of efficiency: VERY GOOD.
How to find customers? Ideally, you should identify your first customers before you even start your business.
There is a very effective way to do this: market research. Indeed, market research should not only be carried out to validate or invalidate an idea; it is above all a very good way to get in touch with future customers and partners to start a long-lasting commercial relationship.
A market study by questionnaire, well targeted on potential customers, will allow you to identify the people or companies interested in your offer and to collect their contact information. Promise to keep interested people informed about the launch of your activity, and keep your promises!
Rely on publicity
Level of effectiveness: LOW.
To make themselves known, young companies often rely on traditional means of communication: advertising on all media, business cards, flyers, brochures, radio, newspapers, advertisements, keyword purchases on the Internet, banners, posters, vehicle decoration, signs, or even window decoration.
These means of communication are certainly essential to make a company visible and identifiable. But today they are insufficient to attract customers. Indeed, an average person receives between 500 and 2000 advertising messages per day, all media included.
There is therefore little chance that they will pay attention to your message, unless you hammer it home, which would mean mobilizing a very large communication budget.
Create a website and develop a web strategy to find customers
Level of effectiveness: LOW to GOOD.
Many entrepreneurs consider that having a website is commercially unavoidable. They are right. But don’t count on it to develop your customer base (see the previous point).
Only a real internet strategy can allow you to develop your clientele from the web: your website must be well-referenced and for that its content must be of quality, unique, rich, and updated permanently. This is a lot of work and effort in perspective…
Direct approach prospecting
Level of efficiency: LOW (e-mailing, phoning) to GOOD (physical contact).
The direct approach consists of contacting prospects directly to propose your product or service. The efficiency of the direct approach is very variable depending on the medium used. The direct approach is often considered as an aggressive method, a bit old-fashioned.
This method requires to constitute a file or a list of prospects beforehand.
- Phoning: this method of approach is increasingly resented by potential customers because it is too impersonal and aggressive. The transformation rate has been falling for many years. However, phoning can be effective if it is personalized and well-targeted.
- E-mailing (sending mass emails) is not recommended. Indeed, spam is more and more badly experienced by individuals and companies; it conveys a negative image.
- Physical prospecting, or “door to door”. This very old method is less used than before but remains effective. It is a demanding method that implies to progressively gain the confidence of the interlocutor by reassuring him and by delivering adapted and meaningful arguments. There are many sales techniques that allow you to deal with the “objections” of prospects.
Find customers by having them test your product or service
Level of effectiveness: VERY GOOD.
Testing your product is an excellent way to find customers and develop your customer base. The first step is to spend time with potential customers to convince them of the quality of the product or service. This can be done through an invitation to a free event, directly related to the company’s activity or not.
Among the most effective methods to find customers:
- Organize an event (open house, launch party),
- Holding a conference, giving information on a trendy subject in order to give proof of your expertise,
- Participate in trade shows, intervene as an expert in a sector,
- Offer free training courses,
- Make a video presentation,
- Make a product demonstration (for example in home sales),
- Taste, touch, listen, smell,
- Show a photo book of achievements,
- Invite to visit an example of realization,
- Present testimonials or invite clients who have already been acquired to testify.
Develop your network to find new clients
Level of effectiveness: GOOD.
A good way to develop your clientele is to activate your personal network (friends and family), professional network , or extra-professional network (associations, hobbies), in order to start the “word-of-mouth”.
The goal is to turn your family, friends and colleagues into super-salespeople or “ambassadors”. To do this, you will need to spend time with them, explain what you offer, give them a demonstration, and in short train them so that they can then pass on the “right” message.
As you will have understood, we are talking about a real network, not a virtual one. Indeed, it is still very difficult to develop sustainable business from a virtual community.
Identify and work with influencers
Level of effectiveness: GOOD.
Definition: a prescriber is a person who recommends the purchase of your product or service, because of his social position or professional activity. For example, an architect can recommend to his client to call upon such or such craftsmen to carry out the work.
A blogger or YouTuber may also have an interest in recommending a product to his network, to satisfy his followers and maintain his credibility.
It is advisable to identify the possible prescribers of your activity and to contact them to present your offer. It is especially important to thank the influencers who bring you business (box of chocolates, bottle of champagne, or gift vouchers), in order to keep them loyal.
Retain existing customers
Level of effectiveness: VERY GOOD.
When we talk about loyalty, we often think of the loyalty card. However, this loyalty technique is about to be totally outdated. Today, loyalty is more about a privileged customer relationship, going much further than the simple loyalty card.
What is customer loyalty?
Building customer loyalty is first and foremost showing them that they are not just a wallet on legs. It is to establish a privileged link with him, to value him, to show him that he is more than a simple customer.
It means keeping in touch with them at all times: keeping them informed of new products and special offers, inviting them to events, information days, or demonstrations. It means inviting them to testify. It means giving them secrets, information, or teaching them things. It can go as far as making them understand that they have a privileged status compared to others.
In short, the customer must feel part of your company. They must feel like ambassadors of your product and become your best salesman through word of mouth.