Scaling a business needs existing customers
How many ways are there to build a business in the construction industry? A bunch, right? Think of all the traditional methods of getting customers and scaling your business: passing out business cards, advertising on the side of your truck, the yellow pages, radio spots, billboards, direct mailing, cold calling, or ad spots in publications. Now add to this the new wave of internet or, so called, social media strategies: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Instagram... "like me," "thumbs up me," "check out photos of my cool projects here," "follow me," "follow me," "follow me!" When I consider marketing on any of these platforms, it feels a little overwhelming. Can scaling a business be this complicated?!
Don't get me wrong. There is a value in creatively using both traditional and new media platforms for reaching out to new customers, but there is a gold mine of customers that many company-builders seem to overlook when scaling a business: they are EXISTING customers. If you've owned your business for a while, there are tons of them.
How to use existing customers in scaling a business:
Consider this. An existing customer is someone who already has given you the thumbs up. If you need a reminder, just look at your testimonials. They considered your company, said yes, and paid you money for your products or services. If they said yes before, and you served them well, they are going to say yes again when you bring them something of value.
So do it. Bring them something interesting.
Imagine redirecting some of your time and money away from a most challenging task of turning a stranger into a customer towards the relatively easy task of saying hello to those who already like you. I can't tell you how many times I've called up an old client to check in, and before I even mention a new product or service I'm offering, they start in, "I've been meaning to call you. I need this and that done. Can you fit me into your schedule?" I sincerely agree with my father's adage that if you do good work, people will go out of their way to find work for you to do.
Here are some ideas in scaling a business
* Call all of your customers/clients that you've work with over the past three months and ask them how your product/service is working out for them.
* Call up all of your clients with whom you've done multiple transactions, and simply ask them how they are doing. How's life? How's the family? How's business? You don't need to sell them anything. Just take a moment to enjoy a conversation.
* Have you recently added a new product or service to your arsenal? Talk to your clients. Let them know what's going on.
* Reaching out to your customers may even result in them giving you a review or even a photograph of your product which you can use in scaling a business, like the one below from our friends at Front Steps Media!
One of my favorite ways to stay in contact with my clients is to get their advice. Usually I'm looking for feedback on a business decision, but it could really be anything. Get as many of your good clients on "let's get coffee and catch up" terms. Be authentic! Don't be inviting clients to coffee meetings that your really have nothing in common with just to get sales, make them personal. Strengthen your network and allow the sales to be a side effect. If they're not local, send them a personal email. You can even write an old fashioned letter. You'll see how quickly those customers bring new business.
Even with all the new platforms and technologies that are available for marketing your company, word of mouth is still the uncontested champion. Build strong relationships with your customers and clients. Take very good care of them. They will be happy to bring you work, and send their friends your way. Remember existing customers already trust you, so get to know more about them, and they will help you in scaling your business.