Selling is and art.  To be successful we need to not only service our existing customers but be equally persistent and consistent about finding and cultivating new ones.  Here are eight principles that will help sales and marketing professionals find new customers.

1. Focus on finding the right customer

Chasing customers that have no interest or need for your product or service is a waste of time.  Focus on finding your target market and put in the effort to nurturing a relationship that will foster a long term client, all the while building your database in the process.

2. Look at the long-term

Finding new customers is not a quick fix or an event; it is a “process.” Don’t nix the contact if first encounter was not exactly as you hoped.  Continue the “process” by cultivating and developing the relationship.

3. Know the customer before prior to making the call

Do some research on the prospect?  Learn about their corporate culture and what drove them to purchase the product or service in the past.  Learn industry hot buttons; professionals expect salespeople to be current on the newest and best techniques.

4. Sell value

What will your customer receive in return for their investment?  How will you communicate this message? If you are offering the highest quality product you most likely will not be the lowest price point.  How will you convey the value of  the investment?

5. First Listen then Sell

Don’t make assumptions about your customer. Ask questions to find out what their needs are and what their purchasing “process” is and always take good notes.

6. Timing is everything!

All industries have busy times and not so times.  Investigate when is the best time to initiate contact? Keep a schedule and follow it. Contacting your customer during their busiest time of day, month or year is one way to guarantee “no sale”.

7. Help customers clarify their thinking

Customers don’t always know what they want. Ask questions like, to determine the challenges they may be facing.  Help them find solutions by clearing the path to help them make positive purchasing decisions.

8. Look to existing or former satisfied customers

Customers who are happy with the service they received are the best advocates for your product or service.  Ask them for testimonials or leads.  Former customers can be a good source for leads.  They may be ready to purchase again or try something new.
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