4 Great Ideas for Keeping in Touch with Your Market

By Ken Langdon

The customer is king. Have I mentioned that before? It’s one of those clichés that is irritating true. But if you really put the customer, as the factor of your activities you will be more successful than many other businesses who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.  

1. Prospect continuously

Set aside an hour each week for prospecting, finding new clients, or more if your business demands it. During this hour make your phone calls or send out your mailshots or devise brilliant new gimmicks for generating potential customers. 

Don’t waste prospecting effort. If you send out a mailshot and you are in a business where you need to follow up with a phone call, that is, most business, don’t send a huge number out at the same time. This drip feed technique has the advantage that you have to go back to it on a regular basis, thus automatically putting the hour a week discipline in place. 

2. Size does count

Small companies face the challenge all the time of trying to look bigger than they are. Use the normal devices. Have all your meetings on your customers’ premises. It’s terrific – you drink their coffee and possibly get lunch as well. Where they must come to you arrange to be at a hotel either in the lobby or in a restaurant. 

This is particular true if you work from home or have a tiny cramped office up a steep staircase above a betting shop. Publish a newsletter or refer your customers and prospects by e-mail to one on a web page. It takes time and you have to work hard at it so that it does not become actually or apparently out of date; people do not read a company description or anything else on a website that has not been updated for ages.

3. Get everyone to talk to customers regularly 

The way to keep every member of your staff in touch with reality is to allow very few of them to be completely unexposed to customers. You can do this individually by insisting your product developer attends customer progress meetings, for example, or en masse by inviting the customer to come and speak at the annual company get together. 

By the way, this is as true for internal customers as it is for external. Your people are much more likely to create a good relationship with an internal customer if they know each other by more than e-mail. This only applies to a small enterprise with few people when they’re in different locations, a frequent situation nowadays. 

4. Speak to the press

The trade press, and indeed the national press, is always looking for stories. They have a lot of white space to fill regularly. Feed them what you can. Study the trade press and get to know the journalists. Eventually they will start to ask you for comments on stories they have got from the alternative source. 

Think also about local papers, local radio and local television where it’s available. Again, they’re desperate for stories and sources that are reliable to give a quote on any business or related matter they come up with. Other local and then national radio stations picked it up and finally I was passed from place to place in a national TV company until I reached their rolling news bulletin. It works. I knew I would get some good coverage but was surprised by how often people mentioned it even long after my appearance. 

Building the business your dreams: https://kanyinbooks.com/collections/english-book/products/building-the-business-of-your-dreams

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