A common question in any business is how to get more customers. This question isn’t any different for a private investigation business and the answer I provide isn’t ground breaking. The way you act and treat your customers speaks volumes about you and your company. Trust me when I say it is important to treat your customer right as they are only a comment away from judging you and sharing their experience with your business to the world.
The advice that I share below isn’t the end all be all for getting more customers for your business. This is more of the foundation that you should have as an investigator and as a business.
So how do you make your private investigation business grow and have more customers?
I would first decide who you are going to serve. It could be:
- General public
- Court system
- Insurance companies
In doing this you can focus your efforts and marketing more clearly and be more likely to get greater returns on your investments. Insurance investigation companies focus on the needs of insurance companies. They know claims and how the insurance companies like their files worked. They know the lingo and insurance companies know what they are getting with the final product. Insurance investigation companies know how to focus their marketing and master their product for their clients.
Master whatever services you are providing
Services between investigations companies are not created equal and I will get into that in another article or podcast. Just because someone is a private investigator doesn’t mean they are good at any one service. Someone that has been in business providing background checks might be horrible at surveillance. So every time they provide that service to a client it ends up being crap. The client then suffers and so does that part of their business because their clients won’t return to a company that can’t provide a good service.
I am most comfortable and confident in surveillance and interviewing individuals. I provide a quality service as these are a couple of the products I have mastered over the years. And when clients get a good product they tend to come back for more.
So don’t serve your clients crap. Get good at the service you are selling before you start selling it.
A private investigation company has to be found
One thing that stays consistent with business is that you can’t sell anything if no one knows you exist. You have to easily be found by your customer. So here are a few things to get you started and these are topics that I have covered in the past as well.
Have a website
Having a website isn’t enough. It has to look professional and you have to be found for search terms that people are using. An example for my website would be people searching for, “Cost of starting a P.I. Business.” This is the answer I want people to find at my website. If you search for that term you will see that I am at the top of the results in the Google results (As of 8-9-2015). You are my “customer” and I want to be found for that search term, which I am.
Starting a blog that answers the possible questions of your potential clients will help you be found.
Go to the clients you want to service
This would include insurance companies, businesses, lawyers, etc… There is a good chance they don’t know you exist so you need to introduce yourself and let them know what you can do for them. Build a relationship over time and they will eventually be your clients.
It has been my experience that there is not a great deal of return on advertising for private investigators. I have seen it as a word of mouth business more than anything else.
Networking with other companies and investigators
A huge thing for me and my business has been networking with other investigators. I don’t go over the top but I have built relationships to where it has provided me other opportunities and work when I needed it. I have done this by sharing cases with other investigators when I could not work the cases or helping other investigators find work (outside of P.I. Advice). Do right by other investigators and they will likely keep you in mind when they need help with their cases.
Do a good job on the work that you do
Provide a good experience for you customers. This means whether the case was a success or maybe didn’t go the way you had hoped, make sure you provide a good experience that doesn’t leave a bad taste in a customer’s mouth. As I said earlier in this article, it is too easy for word to spread that your company is not customer friendly or that someone feels ripped off.
Finally I believe trust is the biggest thing in the private investigation industry. If a client, colleague or anyone can’t trust you then you and your business will fail. What does it take for someone to earn your trust? It takes a lot for me and the businesses that do earn my trust earn my money.