I asked the sales team of a world market leader what percentage of achievable business they secured from their current customers (customers they had sold something to in the previous twelve months). They claimed they achieve 50% to 60% of the total available sales.
Their CEO said it was closer to 30%. Who do you believe? Their excuse? Not enough time; too busy working on new sales opportunities…
High risk account management
This is the risk you take. Additional products or services you could sell to your customers, do they currently buy these from your competitors? What if your competitors were to adopt five easy ways to sell more and ended up stealing your current sales? Get the point?
Here are the five things you must do – no time to lose, do them now!
Task 1. How to find time to sell more to your current customers
We’re all busy, but some of that time is wasted on customers that don’t count. 20% of your existing and prospective customers will give you 80% of your sales. Everyone knows that. And 20% of your customers steal 80% of your wasted time. Of these, 20% aren’t worth a penny. Weed them out and free up half a day every week. Be ruthless, they’re stealing your income. Here’s what you do with that extra time.
Task 2. Create an Opportunity Matrix
Do you have a Sales Opportunity Matrix for your current customers?
- Create a simple spread sheet and list your current customers down the side with all your products, product groups or services across the top. Make the last column the total value of potential additional sales.
- Simply tick, cross or colour code the intersecting boxes to record what each customer buys (or has bought) and what else they could buy. Leave the other boxes blank. Estimate the potential additional sales value in the last column. It’s so simple.
- Now sort your list by highest to lowest opportunity value – highest sales value and easiest to win. Focus your up-selling on the top 20%. They give you 80% of the easiest available income.
You may not win it all, but you should win 30%, perhaps more. It’s worth the extra effort, isn’t it?
Task 3. Why customers don’t buy more
Some customers don’t know what else you sell. Some know what you s
ell but not why it’s better to buy from you. The majority don’t change or outsource to you, because you haven’t given them a compelling reason to do so. Here’s what you do. I expect some customers buy other parts of your range? Find out why and what difference it makes to their business. Ask ‘outcome’ focused questions, “Has our accounting software helped you get your invoices out faster?” (feature).
“Has that improved your cash flow and reduced borrowing?” (a compelling outcome).
Sell outcomes not features. More on this in point 6.
Task 4. They don’t know what else you sell
This is easy to fix. Produce individual product or service leaflets and include a time-limited offer (it stimulates action). Include one with every invoice. If you send out goods, include one. Add a relevant advert to the bottom of every email you send. A computer peripherals company addedover 30% to their sales by doing this. Look for every way you can to inform your customers about what else you sell. A job for marketing perhaps?
Task 5. Turn customer visits into a range-sell opportunity.
When you visit your current customers ask a question.
“By the way, do you use Widgets in your business?
“By the way, I notice that you buy your Widgets from Alfa Corp. Have you considered ours?
“As a matter of interest, how do you manage your plant maintenance?
Explore a sales opportunity during every visit. It takes seconds and can open the door to a new, lucrative revenue stream.
Bonus task 6. Stop selling your products or services!
It’s often difficult to differentiate your products or services from your competitor’s. You probably have similar features and offer similar benefits - insufficient difference to encourage a customer to switch to you. However, customers often achieve significantly better outcomes by switching to other suppliers. One next-day delivery company helps you keep your customers, another loses you your best accounts. Both offer the same service. So don’t sell your products or services, sell outcomes your customers value. There may be a big difference between you and your competitors.