How do you recommend I find potential clients for small businesses and entrepreneurs that want to learn how to sell their products through online channels such as Amazon?

Reed Thompson


A trained marketer's first question when challenged to find solutions is "What is the real problem we're trying to solve?" So first, are you trying to find clients who already sell through online channels and make them better? Or are you seeking clients who have yet to sell in this channel but don't know how to steer in that space?

While your question to us is more of a prospecting question than a marketing one, nevertheless the two disciplines go hand in hand. Taking one of marketing's "4 Ps" in hand — place — the businesses who are wondering about using the online channel are quite predictably hanging around and searching the Internet for someone who can help them and explain the platform required for effective sales programs. You, then, should be very present in that space, too. And you already are.

So we'd recommend that your team re-examine your website. Does it quickly tell your firm's story? Is it welcoming? Do your testimonials confirm results that potential clients can rely on? Is it business-professional? Is it easy to navigate, to find you, in person? Educating potential users of your services requires clarity and ease of explanation.

Your question to us asks how to find potential clients. Marketing disciplines tell us that preparation for and understanding of who our markets are — and what messages they consistently respond to — is an effective pathway to follow in adding profitable clients.

Look again to your current roster of satisfied clients. They will spread the word faster about how great and effective your counsel is than any other source. Consider an incentive for them, with some (reasonable) discounts to your service when they bring you a new client. And don't forget to trust your instincts. Those are probably what got you into this business in the first place, particularly your passion for what you do.

About the author

Michael Hoffman is an adjunct professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.