It costs up to fifteen times more to get business from a new customer than it does to get business from an existing customer.
Of course, every organisation and every sector is different. However, I thought I’d share these five ways to get more business out of your existing customers.
1. Extend your contacts within the organisation
It’s brilliant to have a really good relationship with your main contact and even better if you have built the relationship to be so strong that they are a willing and credible ambassador for you. There is, after all, no better form of marketing.
However, you leave yourself very exposed if you only have one contact within your customer’s organisation because if there is a restructure and they move on you could be scuppered. At best you have to start the relationship building from scratch. At worst your business will be cancelled because there isn’t anyone else there who values your product or services.
Plus, if you extend your contacts you will undoubtedly come across other budget holders who may want to spend money with you.
2. Identify and understand all the pain points your customers are experiencing
If you know your customers’ pain points you can create a solution for them. If your product or service doesn’t relieve a pain point it is unlikely to be bought. Most organisations of a certain size will have more than one pain point at any given time.
Give your customer solutions to their pain points and they will love you for it.
3. Go after your competitors’ business
It’s a good idea to know who else your customer is using for services similar to yours. You should actively go after this business now, not least because that company will try to get yours.
And while you’re doing that you should reflect on why your customer is using one of your competitors instead of you anyway. Don’t be afraid to ask that question.
I wrote more about understanding your competitors in my post The only 3 things you need to know about marketing.
4. Be nice
It is a truism that, at the end of the day, people buy from people.
If you don’t think your customer likes you or your company enough to give you more business then you really should take this seriously. Would you buy from your company?
This isn’t about lavishing corporate entertainment on your customer (does anyone still do that nowadays?) but it is about the ‘little’ things.
That’s your tone of voice, the way your organisation answers the phone, remembering names and personal stuff. Saying thank you or good luck at the right time, and meaning it.
Encourage your customers to have conversations and dialogue with anyone in the company and put photos of all your team on your website. If you’re not happy doing this ask yourself why – it’s everyone’s job to be a champion of your business.
5. Ask for more business
According Geoff King in ‘The Secrets of Selling – how to win in any situation’ there are three things you need to know when asking for the business. They are when to ask, what to say and how to say it.
When to ask - verbal buying signals like ‘When could you start?’ or ‘How much would it cost?’ are dead give aways. Visual buying signals such as steepling their fingers show your prospect is about to make a decision.
What to say – King gives eight things to say. My favourites are giving an alternative close (“I could arrange delivery/the start date for either 18th or 25th – which suits you better?”) and the conditional close (“If I could arrange that for you would you be happy for us to do the work?” or “If I could do it for that price would you be happy to go ahead?”)
How to say it – there are two very simple rules. Firstly, ask for the work; secondly, keep quiet. The latter is essential.
I’m sure you will know of other ways to get more business from existing customers – why not share your ideas?