I was recently asked how a business can generate more revenue from existing customers. The most obvious answer is to educate your customers on what you offer, and dig deeper to find more selling opportunities within their organization. In my opinion, this “easy” approach is the wrong approach.
Become the trusted advisor to your customers…
I believe that the key to generating more revenue from your existing customers (something that every business should strive for) is to move from a sales/vendor role into one of trusted adviser. A trusted adviser is someone seen as a partner in a company’s success – it’s the primary way we operate at Tigerpaw Software. Start by making sure you are not just calling customers when you want to sell them something or when you think a re-order is due. Be visible, be friendly, and be helpful. Touch your customers at least once every 28 days, whether that’s a phone call, an email, or a personal visit. Find ways to educate your customers – not just about your products and services, but also about ways they can improve their business. A regular newsletter is a great idea. Provide content in an easily digestible format (i.e. “Top 5 Ways to …”) and make the topics relevant to your customers’ business. If you happen to provide a product or service that can be used to help in the areas you write about (and you should always find an angle if possible), find a way to make that known, but do not make the article about you; make it about your customers.
Teach them, guide them (even if it means steering them to other vendors when appropriate), and earn their trust. If you create a relationship of trust, and you have consistent communications with your customer, you will naturally discover new opportunities to sell deeper to them, and you will build customer loyalty so that you’re much less likely to lose them to a competitor that comes in with a lower price. Build the relationships so that you don’t become commoditized!
Feel free to post a comment and let me know your thoughts!
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