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Generating New Business

In our very bottom-line world, everyone is looking for new business. Existing clients have been a mainstay of business for me at the Great Lakes Science Center. But as some point we all need new clients. New clients can be developed through a number of ways. In the sales business, new clients come from leads.

What is a lead? A lead is a possible paying customer short-term, medium-term, and long-term. To me there are two types of leads: Self-Generated leads and Other-Generated leads. The following highlight some examples you may find useful.

Self-Generated Leads
You no doubt have a number of printed pieces – rack card, profile sheet, faxable info, 4-color sales piece, etc. Effective printed pieces get attention and may result in leads. Of course every phone call, mail request, email, fax, even on-site visits are leads. A typical marketing practice is mailing to everyone in the database. Is mass mailing effective for you or is it more productive to mail to selected niche markets such as senior citizen groups, family reunions, corporate event planners, human resource managers, school teachers, tour operators, etc.? These niche markets may need a specialized printed piece.

Have a web page? Provide as much information on that web site as you feel is appropriate. Don’t forget to include a “contact me for more info” button so potential clients can email you directly. For some organizations paid ads are effective. The Great Lakes Science Center’s co-operative ad in Group Tour Magazine includes a reader reply card that generates 20 or more leads every issue. Two or three of these leads turn into clients. Press releases are inexpensive and can result in some great publicity. Carefully target the publications and the press release to the readers. A FAMiliarization tour brings potential clients through “your front door” for a whirlwind visit.

Other-Generated Leads
Other-Generated are leads provided by someone else. These other-generated leads take can many forms. Your membership in the Western Reserve Tourist Council (WRTC) is a great opportunity to network. In addition, the sales blitz and WRTC’s participation in Heartland Travel Showcase provided solid Tour Operator information and leads. Our Science Rocks package with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum generates a great deal of business. Attending selected conferences, meetings, and marketplaces may also be a great source of new leads. Work with a marketing partner and exchange or purchase their client list. The internet can be a wealth of information. I used the internet to research senior groups who became clients for our Titanic and China exhibits. Should you work with a tourist attraction, hotel, or the AAA to offer discount tickets on consignment, Good Any Day coupons, a mail-in order form with discount pricing for museums, sporting events, even Broadway shows?

These are but a few ideas that may help you generate new business. Whatever you do, every month get in the habit of looking for opportunities to generate new leads and then turn those leads into business.