Businesses close up shop every day. There are a dozen reasons that your competition might be closing their doors. Economic changes, bad business operations, bad location or just a lack of a marketing plan (not you though, right?!)

As hard as it is for these businesses and their owners, most of them will still want to make sure that their customers are taken care of after they close their doors. This makes a great opportunity for you to not only get a new list of potential clients but make sure that those people are taken care of once the old business is long gone.

Most business owners that are liquidating their business think about getting rid of their equipment and supplies but they don’t ever think about their client list as an asset. Anyone that is good at marketing knows that your list is your MOST VALUABLE asset in your business.

Think about businesses in your industry that either sell the same products as you do or also businesses that sell products that compliment your product.  Make a list of these companies and see if you can get the owner’s contact information. If they sell a product that is complimentary to yours, it should be pretty easy to make friends with these owners as you can start building a relationship for Joint Venture promotions and cross sell products right away.

You should already be looking for businesses like this to work with. If for some reason those businesses run into trouble and go out of business it will make it easier for you to approach the owner about buying their list from them. Most likely they haven’t even thought of that and you can get it from them for less than you would if you were to use a list broker to find the exact types of clients.

For the companies that are direct competition from you, you might not have a good of a relationship as you would with someone that isn’t directly competing with you, but you should try to make the connections anyway. Friendly competition never hurts and keeps all businesses in top shape. Building relationships with some of your competition can also help you in the long run.

You might have a job that isn’t ideal for your business. Maybe a project that is further away than you want to go. Maybe a job that’s bigger than you want to handle on your own, or the other side of that… A job that’s smaller than you want to take on. Having a list of your competitors that you could refer to in situations like that are ideal. This will keep you in good standing with the prospects that you couldn’t help yourself and also makes you look good to your competition and builds a level of respect with them.

There will still be some that you don’t know at all and don’t build relationships with. You still want to keep an eye on what’s going on with them.

If one of these companies does announce that they are closing their doors for whatever reason, you have an opportunity to come in and see what you can do to help them out. Remember, your relationships will do more good for everyone involved (including you) than anything else out there in a situation like this.

Make contact with the owners as soon as possible. Ask them to lunch or coffee. Then, you can offer to buy their list of clients for them. Tell them that you want to ensure that their clients get the same great service they got before instead of having to go to the trouble of shopping around for a new company. Tell them that you promise to take great care of his/her clients and you want to help out any way you can.

The next step is to see if the owner will be willing to mail a personal letter to all their clients recommending you as their new service provider. You should write the letter for them in order to make sure it gets done and says everything it needs to say. You also will pay for all costs for the mailing like postage, printing of the letter on the old company’s letterhead, etc. All the owner needs to do is approve the letter and give you the list for the mailings. Make it as easy as possible for the owner. You don’t want to put more work on them. They already have enough stress as it is in this time.

You should be doing all the work for this. Remember, don’t come in like a vulture with this arrangement either. Be sincere and considerate of the old business owner. Any time someone closes a business, it’s going to be hard for them. Remember, you are here to help out and the business you get from it is a byproduct of the situation.

Acquiring new clients from a company going out of business is a very cost effective way to grow your prospect list quickly if it is done right. It’s a great tool to add to your marketing mix that will save you a small fortune over trying to find new prospects. These are prospects that are already qualified to buy your product or service because they have bought similar products before and now they need a new supplier for this service. Just remember that you are there to help these prospects out. Keep your ethics in mind when you do this and your return on marketing to these new prospects will come back to you tenfold.

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