COLUMN: Carole White - New customers are the key to your firm’s success

HAVE you taken time out to understand the lifetime value of your customers?

HAVE you taken time out to understand the lifetime value of your customers? It's easy to become complacent about current customers without considering the impact on your business.

Do you challenge yourself to consider some serious prospecting for more? Real selling is finding the new customers. Real business growth will come from continually working to bring new customers on board.

The lifecycle of your current customers will eventually come to an end (hopefully not all at the same time). You need to double your efforts to fill the gap and grow the business.

Periods of recession have brought many businesses to their knees, so look upon prospecting as recession-proofing your business. Businesses that have positioned themselves well have quite a different view of recession. They know that because they have positioned themselves well in the marketplace and ‘spread the risk’, they will survive and often do quite well out of a recession.

This is because they know that many of their competitors won’t have positioned themselves and won’t have the flexibility they have. These competitors may not survive a downturn, but guess who will be there to pick up clients from the failing business? Our clever prospector.

Searching for new customers is a logical process. The first step is to analyse your potential market. Make the right contacts. With the best of everything from business to product/service to presentation to service, you are still operating in a numbers game. The more right people you see, the more likely you are to get an order.

Set yourself a target of 10 prospecting calls a day. Imagine that one of your prospects needs to place a large order but has lost your phone number. You are merely trying to find out who it was, by calling up and letting the prospects know what you do. The large order is there somewhere, it’s just a question of elimination.

As you talk to more and more prospects you will discover key words and phrases that seem to hit the spot for your prospects. Collect any gems of information for next time, even if it’s something simple like they have a cold or were off to their son’s wedding – referring to that in future will endear you to the prospect. You can use this to develop relationships.

Just make sure you record this information and don’t waste it. These prospecting lists are the backbone of your business.

Make sure that you always follow up, do what you promise and a bit more, and be memorable. Just think of the satisfaction of removing a name from your prospect’s file and transferring it to your customer database.

:: Carole White, business support manager, TEDCO. If you require any further support or advice please call 0191 428 3300, email  or visit


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer