At a business networking event last week, everyone was asked to share their best strategies for gaining new business. Sometimes, what you think EVERYONE knows is really only evident to you. The old adage – “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” – isn’t always true! (Well, for most of us anyway!)
So, I stated what I assumed everyone knew – your fastest sales will come from your current customers. Current customers, even past customers, will close at a 2:1 ratio and purchase more goods and services. The chances of landing a new customer are 25:1, so we need to mine both our current base and develop new relationships.
This statement created a stir – I guess this information is not as obvious as I thought! If you’re not currently using this very successful technique to grow your business, consider this:
- Your current customers know and love you – there is no risk, you’ve already proven yourself
- There is trust in your relationship – if you suggest something new, they will listen to you
- They return your calls and are receptive to you
- They are already customers, you can offer similar services and products that compliment what they are currently doing
- They have a credit history and a successful track record of being a good customer
Think about it. Why would you spend all your time searching for new customers when you have current customers who are willing and want what you’re offering?
Of course, you want a mix of new and old customers to grow and maintain your customer base. Current customers can and will disappear over time, so you need to continually add new customers to the mix. Also, the desires of your current customer base will change and you’ll want to continue to delight them.
Most of your current customers are not utilizing everything that you offer – but they could! So start selling more of your products and services to them. Assess who is using what and let them know about your other services.
We do a lot of work with medical offices to help them increase sales of services and products while streamlining their business. It’s common to see patients purchasing services and products somewhere else that they could have bought from their trusted doctor. One of our clients discovered that 37% of his patients were purchasing services and products elsewhere because they didn’t know it was available through our client’s office.
Would you like a 37% increase in your sales? Absolutely! Don’t assume that your customers know what you offer – you need to communicate your complete line of goods and services and let them know how they would benefit from it.
Listen to your customers. You might hear them saying: “I wish I could find _______.” Don’t ignore it! It could open the window for new ideas and offerings that you can deliver to your customers without a lot of additional effort.
Up-sell! This is an amazing untapped opportunity. If you’re unsure of how this is done, take a look at the restaurant industry because they have this down pat. How many times have you heard “Would you like to make that a large for only _____?” Restaurants use suggestive selling to get you to order larger fries, a side salad or a larger glass of wine (really, who would say no to that?). You can sell the Cadillac version of your service or product and make a fortune! There are millions of upgrades out there that you can offer and successfully tap into this opportunity.
Your existing base can also give you new business through referrals. This way, you’ll have new prospects that are already warmed to you instead of fighting to get time with someone who truly isn’t interested. When I have a trusted friend who enthusiastically refers someone to me, I’m excited and most of the time halfway sold! Those are exactly the prospects we want!
It’s all about quality over quantity! Instead of having 5,000 prospect who may or may not buy, it’s better to have 50 satisfied customers who are guaranteed to buy.