Finding your next best customer can be the hardest part of owning your own business.

Knowing this, our Constant Contact Solution Provider Program created a sales cycle model that can help any small business owner recognize potential clients, and close the sale. And although this model is mainly focused on service-based businesses, almost all steps can also be interpreted for product-based business too.

Let’s take a look at how it works…

Step 1: Define

Before you can market to your customers, you need to know who your customers are. You also need to define your own value and the benefits that a client can expect when entering into a relationship with your business.

There are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. Who are my customers/clients and why?
  2. What problem do they have that I can solve?
  3. How can my product or service solve their problem?

The answer to these questions will help you craft exactly the message you need to acquire the right customers.

Step 2: Prospect

Now that you know who your desired customers are and what they need, now you need to know how to find and identify them. This starts with being where they already are.

Some of these places may be online — on different social networks, online listing and review sites, or other online forums. You can also partner with other organizations and share content on their website or blog.

There may also be opportunities to look offline — by attending networking events, or looking for speaking opportunities in your area.

Once you’ve made an initial connection, look for opportunities to continue the relationship. One of the best ways to do this is to encourage prospects to join your email list.

Step 3: Advance

The reality is, not everyone on your prospect list is going to be the right fit for you, or you for them. This is where you need to begin to advance the relationship with the right people on your list.

Reach out and start conversations and listen carefully to your prospects’ needs, goals and challenges. Show them how your product or service can help them become more successful individuals.

You can do this through the content you share, but should also look for opportunities to take interactions offline.

After having a conversation, make sure to follow-up to remind them of your conversation and what you can do for them. Schedule a free strategy session to display your skills and whet their appetite for the full power you can deliver.

Step 4: Deliver

At this point you have shown prospects what you can do, and have taken the important first steps at nurturing a new business relationship.

Now it’s time to deliver.

Your expertise is what sets you aside from the competition, so make sure you’re allowing your new customer or client to see the value in what you’ve promised.

First, project confidence and focus on solutions.  Set clear expectations: establish a detailed plan with boundaries for service and iterations. Set conservative time estimates and over deliver, but be transparent if deadlines have to change.

Always reinforce ROI and demonstrate your knowledge of and interest in their unique business.

If the scope of their needs exceed your skill limits; you can still reinforce your value by helping them find a great provider you can personally recommend.

Step 5: Measure

If you’re not delivering results and showing your customer the improvements you’ve made, they will have no reason to continue doing business with you. Make sure you are reading and reporting on the metrics that matter most.

These could include the metrics in your email reports (opens, click-throughs, forwards, etc.) and could also include referral metrics to their website as well.

Don’t forget that your customer may not know what these metrics mean, so take the time to sit down with your new customer and explain to them exactly how you are interpreting the data. This will not only help them understand what you’re putting in front of them, but it will allow you to grow your relationship with them by being their trusted resource.

Step 6: Repeat

We know that your most valued customers are your repeat customers. This is mainly because repeat customers tend to be happy customers. With 82 percent of small businesses reporting that new customers find them through referrals, satisfied customers are one of the most important drivers of new customer acquisition.

Keeping your customers happy and informed is one of the best ways to make sure your new customer becomes a repeat customer. Don’t forget about them the minute they walk out the door. Send them tips and tricks on how to continue succeeding. You can also send an online survey to find out what their next need is and make sure they know you’re listening.

Remember that happy customers are your best advocates. Ask them if you can showcase their results on your website, or spotlight them in your next marketing campaign.

Finding your next best customer doesn’t have to be so hard

When you are able to sit down, work through your sales model and decide exactly how you want to approach your next sale, finding your next best customer can be a lot less work.

Want to find out more about this model and are already a Solution Provider? Find it here.