If you’re a freelancer, an entrepreneur, or an established business, clients are your lifeblood. Getting more clients is one of the best measures of success that are out there. Clients equate to more sales, increased cash flow, greater revenue, and ultimately more profit. Conversely, if your business is facing a dearth of new clients lining up at the door, you probably have some problems. Whether you’re a new business or an established one, a healthy firm, or one that is facing some challenges, here are four great tips to line up more clients today.

1. Marketing

A few decades ago, advertising meant one of three things – newspaper, radio, or, if you had deep pockets, television – but the Internet has changed all of that. These days, having an effective web presence is critical to the success of the majority of businesses. Invest time and effort, and money, into developing a good website. If you sell your products or services online, this is especially important. Your presence on social media is also critical; it can help you keep the clients you already have engaged with your business, and lure potential new ones with every share, retweet, and like.

2. Build a Network

No one builds a successful business in a vacuum. Instead, you have to build a network. Work hard to maintain contact with the clients you have. Social media can help with this, but reaching out with emails, phone calls, or old fashion letters can be equally important. The best type of client, after all, is a repeat customer. Your business should be involved as a responsible part of your community; sponsor local events and support nonprofit activities as much as you can afford to. Besides being the right thing to do, it is also a great way to scout for new clients. Finally, be involved in professional organizations that support your particular industry; go to conferences or trade shows whenever feasible, they are great venues to track down new leads.

3. Find Partners

Another great way to build your client base, especially for new businesses, is to partner with more successful, established companies. For example, if you are a new pizza delivery service, consider giving a deep discount to customers at a nearby hotel, who in turn promote your pizza business. A relationship like this can help you generate fast sales, and rapidly build a loyal client base as well. More often than not, the host business will help advertise your services and products, and drum up new sales for you, too. Depending on the type of business you’re in, partnerships of this sort can be extremely lucrative; make sure you work hard to keep your partner satisfied with the relationship, especially if it is working out well for your company.

4. Keep Your Current Clients Happy

Your current clients are your best advertisers. Strive to keep them happy. Follow up with them after every sale and service, and work to keep them coming back satisfied.  Ensure your customer service is unmatched. Address any issues with your products and services promptly. In the age of social media, your reputation is everything, and you can lose it forever in a single tweet. Outstanding customer service doesn’t only head off issues with irate clients, it can give you a great reputation that goes viral, and spreads from current customers to new ones. And that is really the goal here. Keeping your current clients satisfied is a great way to generate new leads.

A successful business works hard to cultivate new clients, and keep their current ones satisfied. Marketing, especially through online presence, is more important than ever in building a client base. A company’s network, and its ability to partner with other successful businesses, are other ways that help generate new leads. Using these tools in your business can help you build an impressive clientele, and keep the lights on at your company for a very long time indeed.

William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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