Customer acquisition is a broad term used to identify the processes and procedures used to locate, qualify, and ultimately secure the business of new customers. There are many different strategies used as part of the acquisition process, with some methods being more effective with specific types of potential clients. In spite of the many and sometimes contradictory ideas that surround the central idea of how to earn a customer, there are a few essentials that are included in just about any type of acquisition plan.
One of the basics of any acquisition effort is to identify quality potential customers. This is sometimes accomplished with the use of telemarketing as a means of locating individuals and businesses who either express interest in or already use products similar to those produced by the business. From this initial list, these leads are then qualified a little further, using various research methods to determine if there is any solid chance of making a sale with a given lead. If there is a good chance, and the contact is interested in learning more about the products offered, his or her status is usually upgraded to that of prospect, and assigned to a salesperson for further interaction.
Establishing rapport with the prospect is essential to any successful customer acquisition effort. Here, the salesperson finds ways to identify with the stated wants and needs of the prospect, and how the products offered can relate to those wants and needs. At the same time, the salesperson will go further and attempt to identify unstated needs, based on data provided in ongoing conversations with the prospect. This type of activity can lead to identifying additional wants that can be met by other products that the salesperson has to offer, or inspire additional ideas of how the prospect can obtain a greater value from purchasing the products he or she already is considering.
Key to the customer acquisition process is understanding the role of customer perception throughout the process. A successful salesperson knows how to really listen to the prospect and get a firm idea of how that prospect feels about the potential of the products offered for sale. Seeing the relationship from the prospect’s point of view makes it possible to proactively deal with possible objections raised by the prospect before they are voiced. In addition, the added perspective can help the salesperson connect with the client in a manner that is rarely possible otherwise. The end result is that understanding customer perceptions makes it easier to forge a relationship that not only results in a sale, but also in strong customer loyalty, provided the products live up to the claims presented during the sales cycle.