I was recently in a meeting with a North East businessman discussing growth plans.
We worked together to find out where he is now, and where he wants to be in 5 years’ time and how is he going to get there. .
The usual answer (and a quite important one too) is ‘more work’, – but the right type of work. Work his team can execute to the highest standard, which fits the company vision and is profitable. You’ve probably heard the saying “turnover is vanity, profit is sanity” and this is exactly right.
The business had already started planning where the new work was going to come from and it’s probably no surprise that it had a list of prospects that they wanted to target.
This is excellent! This is hunting. This is hard work.
Relationships, trust and reputation are built up over time. There’s a very slim chance you’re going to land a large contract immediately from a new client because they don’t have the experience of your service or goods.
Every person reading this will have a list of contacts that they’ve worked with in the past who were satisfied. If you don’t…you should. Most accounting packages can provide these reports very quickly and easily for you.
This is where the farming comes in. How often do you follow up and ask if there is anything else you can help with? Do you even know how much work is done with a particular customer over a period of time and most importantly if the level of work is decreasing? (Just a little note about the work decreasing, there may be a deeper problem that is causing this that you want to investigate such as poor service, not following up on promises or the point of contact leaving your business and they were not notified of who to call now).
Just checking in with these customers is going to keep your services fresh in their head and they will probably call you first.
Once you’ve provided all you can to the contacts you already have you should you start hunting and then start the farming process over again.
Some useful tips for farming could be to invite them to group events. They are likely to talk about the services you’ve provided to them (bear in mind these could all be different services that they didn’t know you could do or even that they needed them!), meeting for a cup of coffee, a simple phone call or an email to let them know you are still here and ready to help them again.
If you would like to go through any of this and how to apply it to your business please contact us – we can even go for a coffee if you like.