Anyone in the sales industry knows it is a full time job constantly finding new customers to keep your pipeline full. You have to cold call, network, pass out business cards, talk to family and friends and spend money on marketing, and use the power of social media, which in itself can be a full time job. It can be a tough, exhaustive business. One sales strategy that is often forgotten is reaching out to current and past customers to increase business.
According to Bain & Company, retaining current customers is 6-7 times less costly than acquiring new ones. They also state that repeat customers tend to spend 67% more on average. Another interesting fact from RAIN Group tells us that “60% of companies believe they should be generating 25% or more revenue from strategic accounts.”
Instead of over thinking about if you should be selling more to your existing and past customers, you should focus more on how you can sell more. Great sales people are always looking for opportunities to grow their business, and to grow it with minimal exposure.
Sales Strategies to Use With Customers
- Upselling. Upselling is a sales technique whereby a seller induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades or other add-0ns in an attempt to make a more profitable sale.You already have the client’s attention. They’re already purchasing from you so you have more than likely built rapport and trust. McDonald’s is the master at this sales strategy. How often have you heard them ask “would you like to super-size for just a dollar more”? If you offer training you can offer a discount for future training if they purchase now. The chiropractor offers therapeutic massages or nutrition consultation. You get the picture.
Upselling can also be a technique you use after they have purchased from you. Let’s say you sell consulting services and sold them an audit, and they were thrilled with the results. Now is the time to offer them training or something else you can provide. When they are happy and satisfied is the time to ask for more.
- Cross-Selling. Cross selling is slightly different than upselling. Cross selling is a sales technique that entices the customer to supplement their initial purchase with products or services that complement it.Amazon epitomizes this technique. When you purchase from Amazon you will see a message that says “Customers who bought this item also bought…” or “Frequently bought together”. In fact, they attribute 35% of their revenue to cross selling. That’s a big number.
- Be at the top of their mind. If you lose contact with them, no matter how well they were treated by you, they will forget unless you remind them. Send them an email, personal note. occasional newsletter to let them know what you have been up to. Send them a card during the holidays and on their birthday, not asking for their business, but just letting them know they are in your thoughts.Remember people care about how you make them feel, not what you do for them. Remembering a birthday or an important event in their life such as a new baby, promotion, moving to a new home… these matter to them and you remembering and acknowledging will make you matter to them.
- Come from a position of adding value. If you’re selling to other businesses ask the question, “What can I do to help your business grow?”. Maybe what you offer doesn’t help their business grow but it eliminates a problem or reduces cost or improves efficiency…make sure you know what value your product or service will bring. When you are meeting with your customers, keep asking these types of questions.Don’t ignore these questions if you aren’t selling to businesses but are doing consumer sales, the same concepts apply. If someone has joined a gym, you’ll want to find out how they are feeling about their progress. It might be a great time to upsell to one-on-one personal training.
Adding value is critical, and you must know what value they perceive they are receiving so you can discuss other options and what you can do for them.
- Ask for referrals. Not enough sales people ask clients for referrals. If they are satisfied with you (and if they are still buying from you they must be), they likely have others then can refer to you. Don’t assume they will refer just because they are happy with you, it may not cross their mind.Asking “who do you know I should contact” is not a great strategy. Tell them how pleased you are with the relationship, being specific. Then remind them your business grows through referrals and provide them with details of your ideal client. For example, if you are a real estate agent do you want first-time buyers or only someone who can spend $500,000 and up? As a sales person selling medical equipment, do you want referrals to doctors, clinics, hospitals, all of these and who within each of those organizations do you want to speak with? Is the hospital administrator the best contact or someone else?
- Share a new offering. Do you have a new product or service that wasn’t available when you began working with them? Have you enhanced your offerings in some way that would benefit them? Every time you have something new or enhanced you need to make your customers aware.
- They bought one product or service, but you have others. I have a client who is an estate planning attorney. But he also does business transactions (helping clients buy and sell businesses) and lots of review of business contracts with vendors, HR manuals, and the like. Guess what? His estate planning clients don’t really know he does this other practice area and vice versa. It’s a big potential loss of business, either direct with his clients or through referrals.Are you selling computers but also do installation of audio and visual equipment, but your customers don’t know this? What opportunities are you missing because your customers only see you as a resource for one product or service?
- Past clients needs TLC, too. Clients come and clients go. If you are in any type of professional service they may have used you for a project or a specific need and when that is satisfied they no longer need you. Maybe you sell office furniture and refurnished their entire office, so what else could they need any time soon? The answer is you don’t know. Situations change. Maybe two months later they merge with another firm and need more office furniture. Maybe the estate plan you created for them a year ago needs to be updated because they got divorced, remarried, now have a blended family, their financial situation changed…any number of things could change that may provide an opportunity for you.Keep in touch with past clients/customers on a regular basis. Even if they don’t have a current need they may have a referral. And it’s just good business to keep in touch.
I’ve listed eight sales strategies to use to increase your sales with existing customers. There are many more, you just have to be creative about the how. Take the time to nurture the relationships you already took the time to build, and take them to the next level.
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