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Free Book: How to Find New Customers for Your Business

 

How to Find New Customers for Your Business

A Step by Step Guide to New Customer Acquisition

How to Find New Customers for Your BusinessThis guide will walk you step by step through all the essential phases of finding new customers for your business.

New customers and more sales are essential for profit and growth. As a business owner-manager you should have a specific program for regularly developing new accounts. This Guide presents a systematic approach to finding, getting, and keeping customers whose sales volume produces profit for you.

Table of Contents
1. How to Develop New Accounts
2. How to Specify Your Potential Customers
3. How Many New Customers You Need?
4. Which Are the Most Likely Candidates
5. Your Competitors as a Source for New Customers
6. The Profit Evaluation

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Sample Content

Useful insight into the problem of getting new customers can be obtained by considering the sales department as a purchasing function, spending company resources by investing in customers and sales volume. The controls, systems, thought, and effort devoted to finding the right source of materials, providing for the most effective delivery performance at a favorable price, is a continuing and evident management concern relative to its purchasing activities. Disciplines are established and controls are in place to measure supplier and purchasing effectiveness. Alternate bids are secured and potential suppliers critically tested for quality and service. Capital expenditures are closely evaluated. Yet the problem of investing to get a new customer, one who is expected to deliver profitable sales over an extended period of time, is often reduced to a simple charge to the sales department of "more customers!"
In most cases the investment in customer acquisition is heavy, scattered, unmeasured, and unplanned. The moneys spent in this type of effort consist of advertising dollars, sales salaries and expenses, phones, samples, administrative time, and often expensive engineering costs.

The alternative to the shotgun approach to customer or account development is usually less expensive and substantially more productive. It involves some straightforward initial analysis and planning inexpensive enough for the smallest business. It may likewise involve a change in attitude and emphasis that says that the business of investing in a customer ought to be a selective, investigative, consistent, and planned process, worthy of the closest attention of the managing sales executive. Finding and developing a worthwhile customer is a different objective from simply "more sales" or "more accounts."
The procedure involves ten steps, formalized to the degree necessary for the needs of the enterprise. These are:
1.  Specify
2.  Quantify
3.  Identify
4.  Qualify
5.  Convince
6.  Service
7.  Collect
8.  Measure
9.  Expand
10.  Repeat
The first seven are initially critical. A substantial account that does not pay is no "customer."

How to Specify Your Potential Customers
The first step is to decide what kind of customer is needed. This involves a brief customer "specification." No one just buys steel or a machine tool or a truck. The kind of steel, its characteristics, its yield are matters of instant concern. Are we trying to buy a simple drill press or a numerically controlled multiple spindle processing unit? Does the truck have to carry one ton or ten tons, and what is to be hauled? Good analysis of the strengths or deficiencies of your present customer accounts can help in preparing your customer specification.
The Customer Specification Might Read:
Must be within 100 miles. Must be potentially capable of repeat purchases of product "x" totaling $50,000 per year. Must appreciate value of service as opposed to being strictly a price buyer. May be an intermittent process operation where downtime is a critical concern. Frequent changeovers. Quality conscious buyer. Pays promptly on terms. Probably in the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) or , (describe)
May currently be using product supplied by National or Atlas. Size indicator: at least 100 employees, reasonable in-house maintenance program, evidence of sales growth. Objective: profit contribution rate of 30 percent.
Or the Specification Might Be Simply:

Companies in the meat processing industry, in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania (beef, lamb, pork, fowl) engaged in slaughter and/or portion pack, handling over 100 head/day equivalent;
Or:
Independent distributors of products associated with the material handling industry in major trading centers in the southeastern region, having a sales force of no less than five, and carrying recognized domestic truck brands calling on local industry, particularly food processors. Must have repair facilities.

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