According to Peter Drucker’s research, salespeople stand a one-in-two chance of selling something to someone who has already bought from them. Odds like that are too good for the casinos, but they are ideal for you.
In short, if you’re not identifying and pursuing additional opportunities within existing accounts, you’re leaving money on the proverbial table.
The key to successfully selling more to an existing customer is understanding the specific value you’re already bringing them. Account management isn’t just putting out fires and making sure a client is “happy.” It’s about identifying opportunities where you can have an even greater impact on client performance.
Do that by asking yourself questions like these:
What have we done that’s made a difference for this client?
How would this client describe the work we’ve done?
Why would this client buy from us again?
How satisfied is this client with our work?
What have we done that’s failed?
The next critical step in growing an existing account is identifying your next offer. Whatever you do, be sure that any offer is in alignment with your customers’ expectations and needs. This means offering options that bring them compelling value.
Indulge an unexpected example: Awhile back, I was eating some takeout Chinese food with some friends in Greensboro, NC. After dinner, we all opened our fortune cookies.
Mine said, “Did you remember to order your takeout also?”
After laughing at its ridiculousness, I realized that it’s a misaligned offer. I had no need for takeout. I’d already had it. The same can happen to your sales efforts if you aren’t clear on what you’ve already done and what else you can do.
You might find it surprising that salespeople can forget what they’ve sold to someone in the past. But, believe me, it happens. As business grows, your offerings increase, you gain more clients and it becomes more important to maintain great records.
As for determining what else you can offer, one of the best places to look is also one of the most obvious: Your customers! They’ll happily tell you what else they want... if you ask.
Try questions like these:
What more can I do to support you?
Where will you, your department or your company be in six months? How can I help you get there?
What will make you more effective with your customers? How can I support that?
Is there something else we can provide that would improve your organization in some way?
What’s a wild business idea that you’ve had that you never followed up on, but wish you had?
There are countless examples of product and service offerings that have come from clients’ minds. This has probably even happened to you! Always look for ways to leverage these one-off ideas into tools, processes and products you can sell to other clients. Selling more to existing customers becomes much easier if you actually have more to sell.
If there’s one take-away when it comes to selling more to existing customers, it’s this: Strive to become a vital, strategic resource to your clients. That means bringing value that extends beyond your offerings. It means becoming trusted as more than an expert on your business, but also an expert on your customers’ businesses. When that happens, you’ve discovered acres of diamonds.
Originally published Feb 13, 2012 1:00:08 AM, updated July 28 2017