Shaking hands in an agreement at a business meeting

Understand how buyers find service providers

Potential buyers will have a set of clear processes which they use to identify and learn about people they want to work with. Knowing how buyers do this, and knowing it in meticulous detail ensure you don’t waste time, money, and energy on marketing strategies and tactics that won’t have any impact on your prospects’ buying decisions. Seven most common ways decision-makers identify and learn about professional service providers are:

1.   Referrals from colleagues and others in their network
Understanding how this works could help you to know where to look to find customers, you may be able to target these people using Facebook/Google/Instagram/Twitter/YouTube advertising, you could find the places where buyers friends hang out and go there and talk with them directly. You may even be able to use physical advertising at these places.

2.  Previous experience
Demonstrating your previous experience or finding people that have previous experience working with your prospective clients can help you to create advertisements or working marketing strategies which can help both online and offline when seeking new customers.

3.  Research within their own organisation
You may find that marketing your services to people that are at different positions within an organisation can help you sell your services. If you know the decisions to buy services like yours are left up to an employee or committee of employees beneath the decision maker then market to those people.

4.  Advice from industry analysts
Many companies look to 3rd parties to help them buy. There is no reason you cannot curry favour with these people too. You can form relationships with these companies and individuals and impress upon them a need for their clients to buy your services.

5.  Online research
Here is where having an awesome website or digital sales platform can help. You want to be dominating online if your clients use the internet to buy. You want to find a great SEO person, or a team of people that can really help you dominate the online spaces that you know your potential clients look to buy. But first and for most you need to do the research to figure out where your clients look in the first place else you will spend £1000’s selling in the wrong space.

6.  Business articles and trade reports
Don’t be afraid to sell offline too. It can help if that’s where your customers look. But interview your customers and find out where they look. Find ways to use discount codes or different urls for each advert so you can measure their impact. Don’t just spray and prey!

7.  Trade shows, exhibitions and conferences
Finally there is often no substitute for talking with people directly at a trade show or event. You can sell while doing market research about future selling. Be sure to capitalise on these events as much as is possible. Squeeze value out of every encounter and don’t be afraid to ask people, who are not going to buy, ‘Is there anyone else you think may want our service’!


Takeaway: Do your customer research, do it well and really really understand their problems and how they find solutions.