It’s already the end of September. Vacations are over, and it’s back to business. How do you make the most of this? Bring in additional high-margin business this year by identifying and pursuing your ideal client or customer.
3 Steps To Higher Margins
Here are three simple steps to bring in higher-margin business. That simple? Oh, hell, yeah. One of our clients completely revamped her business model and doubled her profitability last year by following this advice. If your sales cycle is longer than four months from initial contact to closing the deal, get a new ideal client started this year with a compelling trial product or service.
Step 1. Describe the ideal.
Start inside. Ask each person in your company to describe the absolute best client or customer for your business. No time to talk? Send out an email, or a quick survey for free in SurveyMonkey. Not enough employees to give you enough good answers? Talk to your best business advisors: a couple of your best customers. The responses you get may surprise you.
Then, check with your finance person, bookkeeper or CPA to make sure that this type of client really does result in higher margins. Check with the person responsible for operations (your COO, project manager or you). Is this client easy to work with? Do they fit in your systems well?
Finally, check your gut. It’s that voice of experience that gathers facts, but doesn’t always explicitly add them up. Does the answer make sense to you? Have one of your marketing or sales people write it up for you. This is gold.
Step 2. Pick one target company.
Identify specific types of companies or decision makers that fit the description of your ideal customer. It’s not hard. Look for competitors of your current ideal clients on LinkedIn. If, like us, if you prefer to stay away from direct competitors of your current clients, look into different specializations within that industry, or look into a similar industry and select similar companies or decision makers there.
Some examples: If your ideal client is an accounting firm specializing in trusts and estates, consider law practices in trusts and estates. An aspiring salesperson in a community bank? Consider an aspiring partner in a specialty practice in a consulting firm. An experienced business owner of auto repair shop? Consider an experienced owner of an auto body shop.
Step 3. Use friends to make the connection.
Friends? Yes, friends! The easiest way is to go search for the companies you’ve identified on LinkedIn, and see how many people you know who could connect you to the right person within that firm. Or, try the good old-fashioned way. Reach out to your employees and business advisors, and ask who could introduce you to someone who works for that organization. A warm introduction from someone within the business goes much further than a cold call.
Interested in taking this to the next level? Email us at growth (at) hickman-partners.com or call 571-431-6907.
September 27, 2012