Finding new customers or selling more to existing customers are both ways to stimulate the growth of your business. Here are some tips on how you can increase turnover and grow your business, together with useful information on networking and brokerage events that could be of interest to your business to make new contacts.
MEETING CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS
Different customers have different needs. If you want to provide a superior experience for your clients, you have to give them what they need to ensure repeat dealings.
A customer’s needs are not related simply to the product or service that you are offering, but to the whole experience you give them when dealing with your business. For example:
- Receiving personalised and full attention regardless of the significance of their business deal. Customers like to feel important, want recognition and hate feeling judged.
- Avoid hard-selling techniques. Putting a customer under pressure will not guarantee a sale. And if it does, it might deter them from coming back. Worse, they can spread the word that you are pushy and scare off other potential customers. A bad reputation travels faster than a good one.
- First impressions count and they are made subconsciously on an emotional level. If a customer perceives that you are not interested in his needs but only in the sale he will be put off for good.
- While conducting a business deal, do not get distracted by what is going on around you. Show the client clearly that you heard his or her every word.
INTERNATIONALISATION, BROKERAGE AND NETWORKING EVENTS
Malta Enterprise, in collaboration with other offices such as the Enterprise Europe Network, the Malta Chamber of Commerce Enterprise and Industry and Finance Malta, periodically organises and participates in such events. Check the Malta Enterprise Calendar of Events periodically to keep abreast with our events.
MAKE THE MOST OF SUCH EVENTS
To get the best benefit possible from such events participants need to do research on what to expect and plan how to tackle potential new customers. Remember that in these circumstances you are going to encounter even more competitors that you are used to at home and all of them will be trying their best to attract what new customers they can. So unless you have a unique product or service you’ll need to do better than them. Here are a few tips:
LOOK FOR BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES THAT ARE RELEVANT TO YOUR LINE OF BUSINESS
Don’t just rush into the first event that comes along. There may be various events for businesses in your line of work but some of them will be more appropriate than others. Don’t always aim for the biggest events erroneously assuming that because they are heavily attended you’ll definitely manage to secure some deals. The biggest events are usually attended by the best and most experienced businesses so your product or service will have a lot to live up to. Start by attending small events and securing deals there. Don't limit yourself to the obvious direct opportunities.. Could you form a partnership with other businesses and offer an attractive package deal together?
PLAN AND PREPARE FOR POTERNTIAL OPPORTUNITIES
If you make a good deal, are you ready to live up to your commitments. You might need to:
- Prepare new marketing material to suit the market and customers you will be addressing. Do you need translations into another language? Invest in some branded merchandise so that the customers you meet will have something to remember you by.
- Stock up on raw material, increase production and storage space to produce and store the whole order until delivery.
- Hire and train new staff (even if for a temporary period) or increasing overtime for your staff to meet production requirements. Again consider language communication requirements.
The sooner you plan and prepare for this, the more you'll be able to control the process. If you leave things to the last minute when there is a rush on space, personnel and printing, you're likely to not only increase you stress levels but also the amount you'll have to pay.
MAKE THE MOST OF THE OPPORTUNITIES BY FOLLOWING UP
In most cases such events would only provide a first contact for new customers. Participants at the event would have met other sellers like you and would evaluating which deal is most worthwhile. Therefore it is very important that you follow-up. You could send an email to show that you still remember them and to tell them that prices are negotiable. Send them updates on your products and services. It is important to keep in touch without seeming to be intrusive.
ENTERPRISE EUROPE NETWORK
The Enterprise Europe Network is the largest network of contact points providing information and advice to EU companies on EU matters, in particular small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The network provides matchmaking services to help local business find partners and new markets. Further information on the network’s website.