4 Ways to Think Outside the Box & Find Brand-New Customers

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Laura Cain
July 19, 2016

Let’s be honest. Identifying your target client or customer isn’t easy. Like baking a pie, it sounds like it should be super simple, but unfortunately it’s not.

(Hopefully the phrase “easy as pie” only refers to eating pie, since baking it is definitely not easy. Anyway. Back to sales!)

Even if you think you know exactly who your customer is, it’s possible that, in reality, it might be someone totally different or that you could be missing an entire potential customer base.  If you take one piece of wisdom away from this blog post, it would be this: when it comes to sales, think outside of the box.


How does thinking outside of the box help you find potential customers?

Our CEO & Founder, Ajay Pattani, likes to give this example:

Let’s say you’re a hair salon. How do you get new clients? Many salons say that they count on referrals from current clients. While this is certainly a good strategy, it shouldn’t be the only one. Salons should also think about a group of people that are in need of a new salon who don’t already have one. One such group would be people that have just moved to the area. People that are new to an area have yet to establish preferred vendors, thus targeting them before they’ve chosen a hair salon is crucial. Once you identify this group, there are countless marketing options that you could begin to employ, like partnering with local real estate companies and offering discounts to their clients.

It’s surprising how often businesses miss opportunities like this. If your sales team is stuck in a rut, take a look at your targets.

Are you thinking outside of the box? Are you constantly testing new groups of people to see what works? If you’re unsure of where to begin, here are a few basic strategies that should work as good starting points.


1) Utilize LinkedIn advanced search

This is a solid strategy if you target individuals, or if your ideal customer is somehow triggered by a new job or a job posting.

Thanks to handy-dandy LinkedIn, there are a wide variety of search options within advanced search. Don’t be afraid to play around with different combinations.

Let’s say you’re a B2B IT provider. Your services may be triggered when a new CTO is hired at a company since they are likely to be open to working with a new IT company.

With LinkedIn advanced search, you can determine both the companies that are looking to hire CTOs—and CTOs that have been at their jobs for less than 6 months.

Yep, you really can get that specific. Now go off and become a regular Sherlock Holmes (that might happen to work for an IT company)!


2) Find listing sites like CrunchBase or AngelList

These are fantastic resources if you target companies. Once you’ve identified the kind of company that is an ideal client, then utilize a listing site to search for that persona.

For example, a meal delivery service that targets large companies in major cities could seriously benefit from checking out a listing site.

The power of Crunchbase allows you to identify companies that have recently received a round of funding; this means that it could be the perfect time for them to invest in food for their employees.


3) Get familiar with your sales cycle

Let’s say you’re a graduate level business school. From your research, you know that the average student is three years out of undergrad, but now it takes students at least 2 years to make a graduate school decision.

It’s key to be aware of these stats because it’ll directly inform your understanding of your target audience. You’ll want to make sure you’re targeting these individuals throughout those years post undergrad, instead of only targeting them months before they may apply.

(Daunted by the long sales cycle for education? Once you read Rachel’s post on how to get the best marketing return for high education, you won’t be.)


4) Understand your seasonality

You may be allocating more sales resources than necessary during months that are not typically busy months for your business.

It’s important to analyze past sales data to understand when your target customer is actually making buying decisions, and align your sales strategy to capitalize on those times.

After all, a swimsuit company that spends a significant portion of its advertising budget during the fall could probably make some improvements. Reallocate that budget to the spring in order to make the most of your busy season.


Once you’ve found a target using your newfound strategies, what’s next? First, congratulate yourself. Thinking outside of the box can be challenging.

Next on the list: digital marketing. Utilizing social media ads, remarketing, and strong content will help improve your chances of turning a lead into a customer. Shameless plug: Perfect Search does all of that pretty well.

Do you have any ways you think out of the box for finding new potential customers? Have you used LinkedIn advanced search for some high-level creeping? We’re dying to know. Tweet us at @Perfect_Search

Laura Cain
Senior Director, Business Operations

Laura Cain is a University of Chicago alum who hails from Mandeville, Louisiana. If she could have her own store, she would sell sandwiches on really fancy bread, and the one thing she can’t live without is ice cream (seriously).

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