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Small Business

Manage Your Business

Daymond John's 5 tips for finding new customers

This is part of a series of columns by Daymond John, an American businessman and author. It is presented by Chase for Business.

Choose what’s right for your business

Finding new customers and keeping them are two very different things. Selling just to win them isn't enough—you have to nurture and cultivate your customers and make them your vital partner. Earn their trust and have their best interests at heart, and you (and your business) won't go wrong.

There is never just one way to attract and keep new customers. You have to use a variety of strategies. Here are five that worked for me:

1. Create a community

People want to feel connected and supported and be a part of something bigger than themselves. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, really drill down on what your community stands for. You'll get a more positive, meaningful, enthusiastic response when you appeal to a specialized, intimate community. Creating a niche builds that community faster—it shows that you understand their specific, unique needs. Give them good reason to be engaged with and connected to you.

2. Get in front of them

Don't wait for your customers to find you; show up where they already are. They'll be connected to social media platforms, channels and pages, and attending specific trade shows, conferences and events.

At FUBU, getting hip-hop artists to wear our clothes in their music videos surely attracted the customers we wanted. Today's equivalent would be offering clothes to social media influencers who have a core audience similar to yours.

3. Appoint brand ambassadors

"Brand ambassador" is a fancy title given to anyone who represents your brand or service and helps you spread the word both off and online.

My FUBU street team (that's what we called our brand ambassadors) flooded the local scene wearing and talking about our gear. We didn't wait for customers to come to us; we went straight to them! I use a similar strategy today. For my latest book, Rise and Grind, I engaged ambassadors to talk it up. These were fans who appreciated the book's message and helped spread the word before the book was released.

It's important to build your brand ambassador team in an organic, genuine way. Make sure they truly believe in what you have to offer; pay them with free or exclusive access to your product or service, or establish an affiliate program where they can be compensated for bringing in new customers.

4. Don't be afraid to upsell

To some, the notion of upselling sounds more like "hard sell," but it doesn't have to be. It's merely a sales technique used to recommend additional products and services to your customers. Find the customers who can truly benefit from what you have to sell. Own a barbershop? Sell shampoo and other haircare products so that you become the customer's one-stop shop for all-things haircare.

Target the customers who have already benefited from what you are selling. Show that you are committed to further helping make the customer's life easier. Demonstrate how the upsell can save them time or money, or other ways they will benefit.

5. Nurture personal relationships

As a small business or brand, you can do something powerful that big businesses can't always do—create one-on-one connections with every one of your customers. So respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. And don't forget appreciation. Sometimes, a simple "thank you" is enough; other times you may want to truly show your gratitude in a more memorable way, such as running a contest, doing a giveaway, or offering a meetup. Those "thank you" moments not only strengthen relationships with existing customers, but act as a great lead generator for new ones when your customers share their good experience.

Finding and keeping a customer involves a delicate balance of many strategies, but ultimately, it's all about making authentic connections, building trust and doing the right thing.

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