A lack of strategic thinking when it comes to cross-selling or up-selling services and products is something that I come across very often. Most businesses trade in an environment where repeat custom is a significant aspect of the current business model, but very few put in place strategies to maximise this opportunity.
This is the easiest increase in turnover and profit to acquire, and much less difficult than trying to generate a brand new customer. Importantly, this is seen as ‘good customer care’ rather than an intrusive sales pitch.
But how can you improve or maximise your sales with existing customers?
- Keep a database and purchase history itemising historic sales with each customer. Use this to identify future opportunities.
- Talk to your customers about your full product or service offering – they may not be aware of everything you can do for them
- Continuous marketing of your full or alternative products and services to your customer base
- Task your sales team with maximising the spend per customer. Set targets and incentivise.
- Create loyalty schemes to attract clients to spend more with you.
- Provide easy to use tools for your customers to consider that a one supplier route saves cost and time
Undoubtedly, every business is different when it comes to cross-selling opportunities, but I have come across businesses that could increase their revenue by 30% or more.
All it takes is the ability to understand the buying history of the customer, ascertain what else they could be interested in, and then look at the necessary marketing and tools to attract that greater spend.
The realities of up-selling
You can never underestimate how important it is to have satisfied customers. There is an incumbent sense of loyalty, and the customer can be very helpful in helping you to improve the service you offer to them. They are also less price conscious, and will consider a one supplier procurement opportunity as a method of saving their own valuable time.
It also costs less to market and sell new products and services to them, and the more you improve your relationships with existing customers, the more likely they are to recommend you to others. Leveraging existing customer relationships is highly important, and you are probably half the way there already.
Don’t presume your customers know everything!
“We pay a penalty through presumption, rather than earn the potential through greater knowledge”
One of the big mistakes is presuming your customers know your products and services as well as you do. A prime example of this was highlighted to me recently with a client. Despite having the name of the service in their company name, the customer hadn’t actually realised they provided the service. The clue was in the name, but the customer really was clueless when it came to fully understanding the complete service offering!
So take advantage of the opportunities that lay before you. Create as many tough points to educate and inform your customers of your full offering. Use newsletters as part of your routine customer care process. Email marketing is a cheap and simple method of keeping customers informed, and don’t forget to use the opportunity of an existing sale to up-sell what you have to offer.