A business can’t pay its bills without sales, but constantly searching for new clients is expensive and exhausting. Instead of focusing on adding new accounts to your customer base, try maximizing those you already have.
When it comes to marketing, there’s no greater return on investment than getting more from existing clients. Retaining current customers is six to seven times less costly than acquiring new ones and repeat customers spend, on average, 67% more than first-time customers.
It sounds good, but exactly how do you make the most of your current accounts? Here are 10 tricks to try.
Analyze each account’s purchasing habits. Are there products or services you could offer that relate directly to what they already buy? Simply asking one simple question—“would you also like to purchase x, y, or z?”—you can boost your margins with no extra effort or expenditure.
Choose only relevant and related products or services, be conscious of the buyer’s budget (don’t push a $1,000 upgrade on a $100 purchase), and don’t be aggressive in your approach. Focus your sales pitch on the benefits of the additional purchase—how will it solve a problem for them?—and make it easy for them to buy.
Also look for opportunities to sell complementary products or services. For example, if a customer pays you to clean their floors, perhaps they’d also be interested in having you clean their windows.
Don’t assume customers are aware of the full range of products or services you offer. Remind them often, particularly when it is clear an additional product or service would make their building safer, cleaner, or healthier. Consider sending them a letter each year that includes a list of your full range of services or products with a checkmark by those they’ve purchased.
3. Ask what they want
The best way to get customers to buy more is to give them exactly what they want. Give clients a say in your offerings by asking for their feedback on the types of products or services they’d like to see added. Then, whenever possible, make those items available as quickly as possible.
When your customers see you value their opinions and follow through after you receive that feedback, they’ll feel more compelled to buy what they already said they needed.
4. Time your pitch
Sometimes it’s about being in the right place at the right time. Think about products or services you can promote to your clientele based on the time of year. Perhaps they relate to seasonal needs, such as exterior cleaning after a storm, or maybe it’s about pushing discounts to increase sales during your slow times.
5. Stay in touch
Reach out to your customers on a regular basis to simply ask how they are doing. You may not see them as often as you’d like, so it’s important to make sure they remember you. This isn’t a time to push sales, but to simply let them know you care. Even so, sometimes just hearing from you will prompt them to make a new purchase.
Also, always respond to inquiries from existing clients in a timely manner. Communicating quickly and often lets clients know they matter to you.
6. Offer incentives
Offering a rewards program, like a discount for long-term contracts or after a certain number of referrals, will encourage customers to keep coming back to you. When people perceive they’re getting a deal or a freebie, they’re more likely to remain loyal.
Yes, there’s a cost associated with this method. But it’s so much more cost efficient to keep a client than find a new one that the return on your investment will quickly pay off.
7. Provide a guarantee
Similar to rewards, guarantees are powerful tools for keeping customers for the long haul. They tell customers you do quality work or sell top-notch products, and that you’ll stand by what you offer. It makes you seem trustworthy, reliable, and caring. When someone knows what they purchase is guaranteed, they’re more inclined to stay loyal even if there are a few problems along the way.
8. Offer amazing service
Perhaps most important to keeping existing customers is after-sale support. How a customer is treated after buying is one of the biggest influences on their future purchases, particularly for service-based businesses. If they are ignored or treated poorly, they will be more inclined to find a new provider with better service.
Think of ways to wow your clients after they sign on the dotted line. Can you provide training? Give unexpected discounts? Offer equipment maintenance? Make your customer service (both before and after the sale) memorable and something that sets you apart from the competition.
9. Be a true partner
Be more than a service or product provider. Serve as a true consultant for your customer. Always be thinking of ways that you can help them grow or improve their business, whether that’s by saving them money by consolidating products or improving their public image by switching to environmentally friendly products.
When a customer knows you have their best interest at heart, they will be more inclined to take action when you recommend a new product or service. This is even more true if you can show them specifics on how these additional items will solve a problem or in some way have a positive effect on their business.
10. Think long term
No matter what strategies you use, never make it all about sales, sales, sales. Don’t treat a customer like just he’s just another buyer and don’t give him the impression you only care about his checkbook. Get to know your customers on a personal level and show them you really care about them and their businesses.
Look at the lifetime value of long-term customers, not just the one-time transactional value. When you show you’re committed to them, they will return the favor.