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How to Find New Customers Online Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 January 2013 08:50

Social-Media-IconsSure, there's a ton of information floating around online. With a little targeted searching, the companies you want to talk to will rise to the surface. Don't discount general search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing.

While you may have to pick through some non-relevant results, searches here can pull up all sorts of interesting tidbits about your target companies and even reveal new ones. You'll come across press releases packed with information about new and exciting happenings. You might also find mentions of the company in news articles. Any of these might include something that leads to an "in" for your pitch. You can dig deeper and faster with specialized search engines. It may take a bit of work to find one that is relevant to your industry, but you'll discover really nitty-gritty information about a particular vertical.

Twitter is also a great resource for finding new possible customers. Because tweets are searchable, it acts almost like a search engine. Plug in keywords for your industry and take a look at the search results.

More and more companies are putting time and effort into blogging. If you can find a company's blog, you can find great bits of information to help shape your sales pitch. But how can you find them? Hit up Technorati, a search engine that was built specifically to search for blogs.

Finally, seek out your competition's websites and keep up with what they're doing. Check out any customer stories and case studies and take a look at press releases. If they have any customer forums or communities, read through the conversations to gain some insight into what issues their users are facing that you might be able to solve. It should go without saying (but we'll say it anyway) you definitely don't want to pitch your business here, but you can certainly find some new prospective targets to approach elsewhere.

Researching companies on Facebook can give you great insight into their own audience, since the interactions there are much more personal and one-to-one. Be wary of making any sort of sales pitch directly to a company here.

Google Plus boasts a large user base, but the engagement levels are not as high as those of Facebook. The platform does give companies and users some unique tools, and sales people can gain a lot of insight. Users share a lot of content, and because Google Plus is integrated with other Google products, posts and conversations carry more weight in Google search results.

LinkedIn can be a goldmine for salespeople - not only for networking, but for finding new companies you'd like to target. With so much information at your fingertips, a little research can go a long way. First, find the company you're interested in. The brand profile page will often include a list of current employees. Scan this list for people with job titles that line up with your product or service. These are the folks you want to get to know. Nothing gets your foot in the door faster than a personal referral, so pay attention to any existing connections you have to the company. Ask your connections to make an introduction to your target for you.

Top 10 New Years Business Resolutions Print E-mail
Friday, 28 December 2012 09:14

success failure_sign1. Learn how to delegate and do more of it.

There are so many things to do when you're running a small business, it's easy to delude ourselves that we need to do all of them. Then we wonder why we're so tired and frazzled and have no time to do anything else! Determine Your Personal Return on Investment, and decide to let someone else do some of the tasks for a change. Delegation is the key to a healthy work-life balance.

2. Promote your business regularly and consistently.

Too often the task of promoting a small business slips to the bottom of the to-do list in the press of urgent tasks. If you want to attract new customers, you have to make promotion a priority. Make a New Year's resolution to hire a marketing expert, or take the time to create a marketing plan on your own and follow through. 

3. Make business planning a weekly event.

Planning is vital if you want a healthy, growing business. Business planning lets you take stock of what worked and what didn't work, and helps you set new directions or adjust old goals. So why do it just once a year or once a quarter? Set aside time each week to review, adjust, and look forward - or even better, make business planning a part of each day. Not only will this help you avoid costly mistakes and stay on track, but you'll feel more focused and relaxed.

4. Learn something new.

What you choose to learn may be directly related to your business or completely unrelated. Learning something new will add to your skills and add a new dimension of interest to your life - another important part of achieving a healthy work-life balance. Depending on how you choose to learn, you may meet new and interesting people, who may become customers, colleagues, or friends. How will you find the time to learn something new? By delegating, remember?

5. Join a new business organization or networking group.

There's nothing like talking to other business people for sparking new ideas, refining old ones, and making contacts. Whether it's a group specifically designed for networking or an organization dedicated to a particular type of business, in person or over the internet, making the effort to be a part of a group will revitalize you and your business.

6. Give something back to your community.

There are all kinds of worthy organizations that make a difference in your community. Make a New Year's resolution to find a cause that matters to you, and give what you can. Make this the year that you serve on a committee, be a mentor, volunteer, or make regular donations to the groups in your community that try to make the place you live a better place. And those that give get. 

7. Put time for YOU on your calendar.

You can not forget how important it is to take the time to recharge and refresh yourself; a healthy work-life balance demands time out. All work and no play is a recipe for mental and physical disaster. So if you have trouble freeing up time to do the things you enjoy, write time regularly into your schedule to "meet with yourself" and stick to that commitment. If you won't invest in yourself, who will?

8. Set realistic goals.

Goal setting is a valuable habit - if the goals lead to success rather than distress. Make a New Year's resolution that the goals you set will be goals that are achievable, rather than unrealistic pipe dreams that are so far out of reach they only lead to frustration.

9. Don't make do; get a new one.

Is there a piece of equipment in your office that's interfering with your success or something that you lack that's making your working life harder? Whether it's an old fax machine that's a pain to use, or the need for a new employee to lighten your work load, make a New Year's resolution to stop putting off getting what you need. The irritation of making do just isn't worth it. 

10. Drop what's not working for you and move on.

All products aren't going to be super sellers, all sales methods aren't going to work for everyone, and all suppliers or contractors aren't going to be ideally suited to your business. If a technique or a product or a business relationship isn't working for you, stop using it. Don't invest a lot of energy into trying to make the unworkable workable. Move on. Something better will turn up.



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