Here is a really simple way to find new customers or clients — talk to them!

You have to clearly identify who could use your product or service and find ways to talk to them, or more importantly — listen to them!

I have worked with salesmen who complain that their company doesn’t provide good brochures, or have a good enough website, or do enough advertising and promotional activity. It’s great if you have all of these things, but nothing beats getting in front of a potential customer and talking with them about their needs.

I once sat beside someone at a business lunch. I asked him several things about his business, but he showed little or no interest in mine. However, a few days later, I received a pack containing several glossy brochures and a letter from my lunch companion.

The letter stated that he had been very pleased to meet me, and went on to tell me how wonderful his business was and why I should be dealing with him. I dropped the lot in the trash. If he had taken the time to find out something about me and my business, then we may have had something to talk about.

It depends on what business you are in, but if you want to find new customers or clients, then you need to get out and talk to them, either informally at networking events or by appointment.

You need to attend trade events and exhibitions and join trade associations where your customers gather. Give presentations at meetings or conferences and talk with people on the phone.

E-mail continues to be most people’s favoured method of communication. However, with a potential customer, it could be better to give certain information verbally — it’s much more personal.

Talk with the people you come into contact with in your personal life. That does not mean boring the pants off everyone you meet; it just means selling yourself and finding out about them.

Meet potential customers for lunch or breakfast or even just for a coffee. And don’t believe those who tell you that businessmen don’t do that any more. The days of the long lunch may be long gone, but people still eat, and if you’re buying the sandwiches, so much the better.

You have heard it before and you will hear it again: “People buy from people they like and who are like them!”

So get out of your office and talk to them.