I’ve noticed these days that companies spend more money and effort trying to acquire new customers rather than trying to develop loyalty among their existing customers, up-selling and cross selling their customer bases and soliciting referrals. What a waste. You already know that its more profitable and more satisfying to sell to your existing customers, so why don’t many big companies endorse this strategy in their marketing and sales plans. My best guess is that its sexier to create new ads and programs focused on attraction. Perhaps new client acquisition is easier to measure for marketing departments so they throw all their resources into it.
Did you ever notice that all the best deals on cell phones are reserved for the new customers. As an 11 year customer of my wireless carrier I have to call, wait on hold for 10 minutes and demand (beg) for a “deal” when I want to upgrade. Sheesh….seems backwards to me. Make sure you don’t fall into that trap. Take care of your existing clients and ensure that you are maximizing their annual revenue stream. Here are a few ideas:
- Be in touch with your clients at least monthly. Dan Kennedy and the Information Marketing Association estimate that the value of your customer list decreases 10% every month it goes uncontacted. Check out our recent article on this subject “get into the VORTEX” at www.engageselling.com
- Sell up. Create a list of your products and services and attach every other product that can additionally benefit prospects. When you deal with your existing customers, you can easily suggest new products with additional benefits that they need. As you get into the habit of offering additional value, your average sales price increases and doe the loyalty of your customer
- Share insider information. Your customers want to fee close to the action, like they are an insider. You can create that feeling and boost sales for new products by providing a personal touch. Top sales people make it a point to send a personal email, make a call or leave a personal voice mail to tell loyal customers about launches or changes to existing products first. receiving the “inside word” makes buyers feel appreciated and it increases the chances of gaining more revenue from buyers who are already predisposed to buy from you. In addition to increasing revenue, providing your customers with inside information makes them feel part of the family which has two important benefits. (1) they will think of you first when they need to reorder and (2) they will refer you freely to others.
- Provide customer rewards. I fly star alliance religiously because I want the miles. I use my visa for every purchase not matter how small because I want the points. I use my body shop card to by body products in order to receive discounts, frequent the same pet food stores to buy dog food for Conrad and head to the same family of hotels resorts every year because of rewards points. Offering your clients a reward system for doing business with you can have a huge impact on loyalty. Think about offering your clients a chance to earn points they can apply to discounts and other purchases based on the frequency and volume of their purchases.
- Free gifts. Free samples, and trials of your products can be a great way for loyal customers to gain experience with your products and increase the likelihood that they will make another purchase. Small, useful gifts such as stationary, pens and mouse pads can be a great way to start a conversation and keep your name in front of them all day long. Recently Engage client Kathleen Moore had a client call about a calculator she gave him over 2 years ago. He wanted a new battery and mentioned how he used it everyday, and always thought of her and the company. Kathleen – being a smart sales person when out and bought a new calculator battery for him and dropped it off in person. At the same time, she was able to secure a referral to a new buyer in the organization. Best to keep the gifts small as many customers – especially at the executive ranks – are returning gifts that appear big or expensive. No one wants to feel like they have been bought. Everyone wants to feel appreciated! While you are at it, don’t just reward the actual buyer with your gir=ft. Make a point of passing out the freebies to everyone benefiting from your product or services. It’s a best sales practice to build loyalty and excitement amongst the users as well as the user and influencers.
- Prioritize buyers. Ranking customers on profitability rather than just gross sales makes it easier to pinpoint those customers who demand a great deal of time while producing a small return. If you know who your most profitable customers are you can allocate your time wisely.