As someone that is often asked to help businesses attract new customers, I thought I would let you have my thoughts on this process. Of course all companies need a steady increase in new business, after all this can often be the most dramatic cause of being more profitable, right!
It can often be easier and cheaper however to sell more to your current customers than to try and gain completely new ones.
Depending on what article you read on the subject it can be stated that businesses have a 60% to 70% chance of selling to existing customers while selling to a new prospect is only 5% to 20%. I think these figures are probably a little pessimistic but even allowing for a bit of leeway there is definitely a very good reason to concentrate on previous customers.
After all your existing customers know you, and the service or products you supply. They must be happy with your cost structure or they wouldn’t have purchased from you in the first place. You will have had “real conversations” with them so giving them a call again shouldn’t be too much trouble either.
Keeping in touch via regular calls or email’s is essential if you are going to keep all avenues of conversation open. Failure to do so could mean that a competitor may contact them at anytime and steal your customer away. Make your existing customer feel important and “loved” by offering them special deals or advice that would benefit them in some way and when they do buy, say thank you!
It can often be assumed that your previous customers know exactly what you do and what is on offer but this can be a dangerous assumption. Your customer will often “pigeon hole” you for exactly what they purchased last time and not even consider that you could supply other services and products. So keep them up to date with regular information so that you are always in their mind when they are ready to purchase again.
As a supplier of many graphic and marketing products and services, I personally have experienced the “pigeon hole” syndrome. I had been supplying graphic design and print to a major client in the tourist industry for many years when during a marketing meeting my client received a telephone call that he needed to take. My ears pricked up when he started to discuss details of a website that he was having produced. He obviously wasn’t happy with what he was being told because when he finally hung up he turned to me and said, “if only you produced websites, my life would be so much easier”. Shocked by this comment and the realisation that I had missed out on this project, I informed him that I did in fact produce websites and had been doing so for many years.
You see although my own website stated that I created websites every project I had produced for my client had been print based. A very valuable and costly lesson had been learnt and a situation I do my best to avoid today.