Making More With Existing Clients
By: Charlie Cook
Have you ever put on a jacket you haven't worn in a while and
found a twenty-dollar bill in one of the pockets? You'd forgotten all about
it, so discovering it is like getting a gift. If you've been in business
for a year or longer, you may have gifts in forgotten pockets - sources of
additional revenue waiting to be discovered and tapped.
There are four ways to increase your net profits: reduce costs, increase
prices, attract more clients or sell more to existing clients. When you
consider that it costs you at least 60% and as much as 600% more to sell to
a new client than to an existing one, it's clear that your best prospects
are existing clients.
Are you selling as many of your services or products as you could to your
existing client base? Could you increase your revenue by doing a better job
of marketing to your existing clients?
You've established your credibility and the value of at least one of your
services with existing clients. They made a commitment to work with you at
least once. How can you leverage this trust and client satisfaction into
Tony called me from Washington D.C. with just this problem.
He is an image consultant to politicians and corporate executives and
struggling to increase his revenue. His new clients are happy with his
services, but the engagements rarely extend beyond the initial contracted
project. He is having a tough time getting repeat business. Tony knows his
existing and past clients represent additional revenue but he doesn't know
how to mine it.
Once you have a client, what's the best way to sell them more of your
products or services?
The biggest mistake that most small business owners make is to think that
after they've competed the initial sale, their marketing job is completed.
The opposite is true. Once you've made your first sale to a client and
secured a commitment from them with a payment, you should begin your
marketing effort to get them to buy again.
Of course, you don't want to constantly be "selling" to clients. That would
get tedious for you and your customers and they'd be unlikely to want to
maintain the relationship. Instead, continue to educate them about their
areas of need and how you help clients. Use your products and services to
provide value and to educate clients so they can discover what they need
and want, even if they've n.ever thought about it before.
For example, I've been working with a sports trainer to complete my
recovery from shoulder surgery. In our first session he showed me which
muscles needed to be reprogrammed with exercise to return to normal
functioning. The obvious conclusion of his explanation was that I needed to
work with him again to achieve my goals. Just by sharing a little knowledge
he successfully extended the project.
This approach isn't clever or devious; it is based on the notion that an
informed buyer - an educated consumer - is your best client. Here's how it
works in practice:
1. Help Prospects Become Clients by Focusing on their Problems
People buy solutions to problems or needs that they know exist. Get your
prospects' attention by focusing your marketing message on the problem(s)
you solve in order to get them to visit your web site or contact you. Then
use your conversation or your marketing copy to help prospects further
define their problems or concerns. Do this well and they'll clearly see the
need for your products and services.
2. Continue to Educate Prospects and Clients
Clients buy from you when they know how you can help them.
That's why they initially contracted with you or bought your products and
services. Once you've signed on a new client, don't assume that they
understand the range of services or products you market. They may not even
fully understand what they've bought. Use each contact to continue to
educate your clients and help them understand the issues, problems and
solutions relative to your area of expertise.
For example if you're a financial advisor and you've been hired to help a
client with their investments, you might ask them a question about their
estate planning, tax situation, insurance policies or retirement plan and
provide them with an idea they can use. Each time you do this your client
will learn how limited their own knowledge is and understand more about why
they need your assistance in additional areas.
Instead of selling clients on additional services, educate them. You'll
create a perception of need and increase sales.
3. Transform Client Satisfaction into Additional Sales
Do you have clients and customers that appreciate your products and
services? Don't wait until your contract is complete to tap the goodwill
you've generated by helping them. Regularly ask them questions designed to
get responses like, "I couldn't have done it without you", "Worth every
penny", etc. Just after your clients have provided positive feedback is the
perfect time to ask them a couple of questions to identify needs and to
mention the solutions you provide.
Once you've gone to all the effort to attract a new client don't walk away
from the rest of their needs just because they haven't identified or
clarified them yet. Educate your prospects and clients at every step of the
way about the problems you solve and they'll understand why they need more
of your products and services. You'll discover pockets of opportunity to
help your clients and increase your revenue.
2005 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.
The author, Charlie Cook, helps service professionals and small business owners attract more clients and be more successful. Sign up for the FrŽe Marketing Plan eBook, '7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business' at http://www.marketingforsuccess.com