How do you find new clients?

AH: give customers something they want and find out where your audience are then promote in that area or on that platform

DS: knocking on doors / talking to people also use website forums that talk about your stuff

AH: there is no ‘one’ channel

PJ: use data to use insights / track interaction / analytics

AH: rephrase any negative thoughts on products or services, for example I sell tanning creams so we talk about the fact they don’t smell and they don’t stain.

WS: Surveys asking what they want right now

AH: Ask for reviews on products, if that works for your industry, it’s important to get opinions from the outside – make sure people are happy

DS: sign up for industry blogs where people give reviews

PJ: ridiculous amounts of research; start-up companies have to learn to keep people trusting the brand.

What mistakes have you made that we can avoid?

DS: have the ability to say no

WS: It’s easy to get addicted to PPC (pay per click campaigns) and spend fortunes for minimal return so be careful!

PJ: make sure you have right product at right time

AH: hiring sales people based on personality, its okay to love them but they need to be able to sell

Do you have a referral process / How do you get referrals?

PJ: It is what you know and who you know but also who knows you. Try LinkedIn to see who your connections know.

WS: ask for referrals, I recommend facebook as our viewers are sharing ads by tagging in friends

Amazon: friend or foe?

AH:  it has a lot of reach, be aware of discounting and the fact that only you can sell it the best.

PJ: customers want to buy through it, so you need to be there, make it easy as possible for your customers buy from you. Familiar product functions help too but it’s important to remember that whether you like or not, your customer chose it!

Can you be ‘too niche’?

AH: too niche means you are unknown, to me niche means exclusive

WS: I’m proud to be niche, the more ‘niche’ the better in fact every time we niche we make more money. Every time you ‘niche’ you get to know your customers better so you can deal with them better.

How much time vs money do your spend on new clients?

PJ: 40% time 30% money

AH: 60% my time and 30% company time

DS: 80% time and money on new customers

Is PR good value when it comes to new customers?

PJ: A lot! People want new fresh content and so do Google.

PR is a key tool in my business

WS: PR is vital but expensive and hard to match with sales / content writers get us up search engines but it is hard to see exactly what sales new content or PR stuff brings in

DS: PR works but it must be part of overall campaign / needs to reflect business / you need to back it and get involved

AH: PR is good but you need to put you PR where your customers will see it.

Any Top Tips / Points to Remember?

AH: 11 moments, your clients need to see you 11 times before they buy you so don’t spread yourself thinly but make sure you can be seen

PJ: customers only remember top 3 brands; make sure yours is in top 3. Also think ACE: a – available c -convenient e – expectations

When I attended The Telegraph Festival of Business recently I learnt so much from large business owners who used to be just like me. Every company started small once but sometimes that is easily forgotten when you are working every hour under the sun just to make a success of your business. In this article I talk about the ‘How To Get New Clients’ presentation, which was a Question and Answer session with Alyson Hogg of Vita Liberta (AH), Wendy Shand of Tots to Travel (WS), Phil Jones of Brother UK (PD) and Duncan Sambrook of Sambrook Brewery (DS). Have a look at what they had to say and I’m sure you’ll agree that some of the points could be really useful for your business;