When was the last time you thought about what makes your “best” client (customer) the best. How about your “favorite” client? The answers will be different for everybody. Some may say their best client is the one that calls when they need something and doesn’t need any other attention. For someone else it might be a client that looks for recommendations to build their business. Still others might make the best list because they have the biggest budget and provide substantial revenue for your business.
Sometimes the best client is far from your favorite! You may not like their personality or the demands they make on you but you do lots of business so you put up with it. On the other hand your favorite might not be the most profitable but you have other reasons for enjoying working with them.
Now consider building a profile of the perfect client by adding traits of your current clients that you find most appealing from their revenue generation to their sense of humor. Since it is your private profiling exercise you do not have any limits on the criterion. You can for example choose to deal with a woman rather than a man and not have to explain to anyone why. Common interests, physical appearance, education, religion, politics, etc. all can be part of the perfect client profile you create.
Once you finish the profile, and I will assume the client your profile describes actually exists (not 7’ tall with a million dollar program that starts tomorrow), the next step is to determine where these perfect clients are located and how you can contact them. For example, if your profile based on your current clients reveals a 40 to 55 year old man with a common interest in boating that is involved in the financial industry and has personal authority to spend company money - is your perfect client, you can prospect for all or any combination of these traits. Business with clients selected this way virtually always adds more value to their business.
To find the client described in this profile I would look at the participants of upcoming boat shows, service providers to the boating trade, bankers (credit unions, savings & loans) that make boat loans and insurance agents. Events sponsored by local Senior High Schools (sports, plays, etc.) will have the 40 to 55 age brackets available for networking.
The three steps are easy to do, build the profile, identify channels to connect, network those new contacts.
If your profile describes people that are likely to attend and/or exhibit at trade shows (boating, car shows, medical, first responders, vacation, sports, retail, event planners, interior design, health & wellness, dentists, construction, food industry, restaurants, home and garden and many others), you can develop a large number of prospects in a short amount of time. Remember that exhibitors, who are great prospects, are not at the show to be listening to you! Your card and a promotional item are all you need to exchange for the contact’s card. Not all shows are open to the public but many are. Be sure to check before you make your plans.
Attendees at industry specific shows reveal their business connections simply by being at the show. You can assume that attendees at a restaurant equipment show are involved in food service. Other events such as Home & Garden do not easily identify the business interests of the attendees. A minute or two casual conversation usually reveals if this is a prospect or not.
I personally used the trade show prospect development described above for 20 years to great success. I experienced a 7% success rate on average (7 new accounts from 100 prospect contacts). Next to referrals it was the best business generator for my company. Developing 5-7 new accounts in 3 days - one day at the show and 2 in follow up, is exceptional for any business. Respect exhibitor’s time and be discrete in your networking and you won’t be chased by show staff!
Your follow up with exhibitors should be held back for a few days or more as they are themselves doing follow up on the customers they spoke to at the show. So work your attendee list first.
Final word - don’t sell promotional products! All your conversations will be better received if they are about supporting and building the prospect’s business, performance improvement of staff, customer loyalty and reward & recognition.