Written By: Andy Ogg, Editor and Sales and Marketing Director – Travel Professional NEWS
One of the hardest truths in business is also the simplest. It doesn’t matter how great your product is, how great your brand is or how prepared you are on the backend of your business, without clients, it’s all for nothing.
While there is no “one path” to meeting new clients, we are going to discuss 5 options that don’t drain your marketing dollars and time and could be very successful for your business. The success of your business is relevant to your confidence and ability to not only sell your product, but also to sell yourself to a prospect.
Claim Your Business
The digital age has revolutionized how we live, spend and find new things. Whether you are home based or storefront, it is imperative in todays world to have your business listed with all of the top business location tools. The Google My Business platform allows you to maximize the information shown in Google searches or smartphone searches for nearby locations. Be sure to include as much information about your speciality as possible to help the right client find you. The more information you can share, the better the chances of capturing browsing clients. Invest time and make sure you that maximize your business profile.
Additionally, Yelp is a fantastic way to not only get your business and business name out there but also to find new and prospective clients that may be interested in your services. Did you know that you can have a Yelp profile AND still work from your home safely? You can! Yelp offers the ability of “hiding” your address information so even a home office business can be found by the massive amount of Yelp users.
Get Out There
Many, many years ago, I started an automobile detailing business at the age of 17. It worked well with my high passion for cars and the flexibility it allowed me to surf more and work less. I had no clients and no prospects so I designed some 1/2 page flyers and hit the streets, so to speak. After about 400 flyers being handed out in local business parking lots, industrial centers and asking my friends to pass the word along, I had a steady customer base of about 100 cars a month.
Now, I’m not suggesting you hit the streets and hand out your business cards but I do suggest having the following 3 things with you at all times when out and about:
- Business Cards (50 Minimum)
- An approachable and positive attitude (No one wants to talk to a grump)
- Your perfected 30 second spiel (Short, simple and to the point)
Whether it’s a casual conversation at the checkout stand at your local grocery store or a quick chat about the weather while fueling your car, prospects are EVERYONE for Travel Professionals and all it takes is an introduction to get started.
The Hotel Bar
It would be safe to say that most people that are dining or enjoying a drink at a hotel bar would be traveling and isn’t that exactly who you are looking for? Granted not all of the people you may encounter are looking for the ultimate vacation but if they are on the move when you meet them, chances are they will be on the move again.
Head out to a local hotel once a week for appetizers and spark the conversations with other voyagers. The barkeep may become your best friend after a few visits and could possibly become one of your best recruiters of new clients with a simple discount or upgrade on his next trip with you. Try and remember that while many hotel visitors may be traveling for business, corporate and business travel can be a huge business for a Travel Professional, why not throw it out there?
Get Local. Real Local.
If you live anywhere, and I bet that you do, your neighbors and local community could be a hot bed of potential clients. Partake in any block parties or get togethers and come prepared with a great attitude and business cards to maximize your investment of time. A fantastic resource to initiate the process is the NextDoor application and website. NextDoor allows for you to stay in touch with the people you live closest to in an easy and non-intrusive way. Share your story and let your neighbors know what your passion is and how you could help them plan their next getaway.
If you are a parent and have a child involved with an organization like the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts or team sports, make sure to be loud and be proud of your business and career. Most of the parents you will come in contact with travel and may not know of the value that a Travel Professional can deliver so spend the time, educate them and make them clients for life.
Support Local Business
In our local community, we have a Farmers Market that takes place every Saturday. Local farmers, florists, bakers and businesses are there every week. Instead of paying the big chain stores, find a local event near you and go. Strike up a conversation with the vendors about their business and share your story as well. Not only will you be supporting small business owners, just like you, but you’ll expand your network of contacts and possible clients. The connections of local businesses isn’t just skin deep but from my experience, the roots grow very deep and one simple introduction could double your business with a local market.
All of these tips are just the beginning of possible ways to meet prospective clients. Whether you choose to do all or none of these, don’t disregard the truth that investing time in your local community, surroundings and businesses may yield you much greater results than targeting advertisements on Social Media so get out there and grow your business!