There are customers all around you, have you noticed? Especially for us distributors of electronic components. Electronics are used everywhere these days and usage is only set to increase. Therefore, there is really no excuse for a lack of inspiration when looking for new prospects.
Things might seem a bit more tricky for say, the hand crafted Cashmere scarves manufacturer. You would object that his market is much tighter than electronics and for sure you don’t find hand crafted Cashmere scarves on every street.
However, if you use this little trick I’m sure that you will find more prospects, no matter what industry you’re in.
You: are in Electronics (maybe an engineer, a distributor, a subcontractor, an excess inventory liquidator… you name it). One sunny weekend, you decide to take your family to the Zoo. You’ve found a combo deal which includes train/Zoo entrance ticket, so you leave the car at home and you walk to the bus stop. You’re armed with your smartphone and the logo hunting is starting RIGHT NOW ! (note what time it is)
Hints for a successful hunting
At the bus stop, there is a nice solar bin just besides, spot the manufacturer’s name. As soon as you jump in the bus, pay attention to all the logos around you. There is one on the ticket machine, another one on the bus board, another one on the card reader, you start to wonder who’s designed and built the circuits for the “stop” button, when you arrive at the station.
You jump out the bus and wait for the traffic light to turn green, wait… who’s made the traffic light timers? Take a picture of the logo for reference. When you arrive at the station and retrieve your tickets, check who’s made the self-service ticket machine and take a picture of the logo. Hey! … the machine is out of order, you need help from the ticket office and, oh, there are some more logos on their printing machines, write them down !
Your kids wants to buy a soda and snacks from a vending machine and you realise there’s a control board in there too. You find the manufacturer’s name on the side of the machine and take another picture.
Now you got it: all those brands and logos you’ve gathered are your future customers, suppliers, and business opportunities. Yes, they are there all around you. Obviously, all of them need engineering, electronic components, or a subcontractor, and even a liquidator to help them get rid of their excess. There’s much more to hunt when you arrive at the Zoo: don’t miss the automated doors, coolers, telecom systems, alarm detection…
Play a little: give yourself targets: seriously, after one hour on the bus and at the station you should already have spotted the names of at least 10 company using electronics. If you keep on looking, at the end of the day, you’ll have a nice list of prospects to call next Monday.
Don’t forget to enjoy the day out: logo hunting is not really work: it’s just fun. Make it a game for all the family. My son is so used to my hunting hobby that he happens to hunt for me, like when he went to Scarborough for a holiday, and came back with a series of casino machine’s manufacturer’s logos.
Hunting also works for the Cashmere scarves manufacturer too, except that the points of interest are completely different. Our craftman will rather look at the shops on the way, during the bus journey and at the station. There is a hairdresser there, maybe they could sell your scarves. And maybe you should visit his shop with some samples. Oh, and the shoe shop there, look at the window, they are selling yellow handbags and umbrellas, for sure, your scarves would look great in there… By the way, isn’t there a souvenir shop at the station? At the Zoo? Could they sell your beautiful creations to the tourists and visitors? At this point, you start to imagine a new label for your scarves, including the address of your website, in order to attract visitors and increase online sales.
When the dream customer could be just right in front of you…
The baker will spot schools, offices, banks, administration buildings and restaurants where he could possibly take orders and organise deliveries. The plumber will spot numerous places and businesses where he can offer his services too.
When I was living in Nelson (New Zealand) I used to love visiting KP, a fantastic snack bar in front of one of the local Primary Schools. Despite their excellent homemade cakes and pies, KP were struggling to attract more customers. The business was located at the edge of the city and there was little footfall in the area. The owner was very proactive and organised craft exhibitions and events at the bar to bring people in. However, it was not enough to survive. The primary School wasn’t catered and the children brought their own lunches. Everyday a few parents and children would order pies to be delivered to the school at lunch time.
The owners couldn’t see all the opportunities that school could bring. To me, this was the perfect lead to exploit: they could sell much more to the kids. Of course not with the usual pies from the general menu, but, with a choice of 2 or 3 affordable and healthy kids meals, delivered to the school in a funny paper bag. There were many possibilities to promote the kids meals to the parents: flyers, the local newspaper, signs on the shop front… Another one could be to involve the Parent’s Committee in the project. Indeed, they were raising money for a new sandpit. If KP would sponsor this, then the parents would know that with a KP lunch, their child can have a healthy meal, while also raising funds for the schools development. That was a win-win deal and the parents were happy to help organise the meal distribution so things were looking promising…
Sadly, all this didn’t happen. The owner started fearing they would lack the organisation needed, because it could be too much at once. She was also concerned that the parent’s Committee would take control, that they wouldn’t make enough money etc… This lovely snack bar closed down a few months later.
After some contemplation, I came to the conclusion that what often prevents us from developing our business is our lack of imagination and fear of change.
So be careful to never lose your sense of adventure!