How to increase your sales in ten steps

Posted On 05 Oct 2018
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PSI’s resident business expert Jim Rathbone reveals the ten essential steps for increasing sales from your customers

Your customers are the easiest, most profitable group to which you can market your business. They are your fastest source of additional revenue and profit.

So when was the last time you made a concerted effort to sell more to them or proactively contact them? They may well be frustrated that you don’t communicate with them frequently enough.

“In marketing I’ve seen only one strategy that can’t miss – and that is to market to your best customers first, your best prospects second and the rest of the world last.” – John Romero

So here are ten ways to increase your sales to your existing customers:

Give great customer service

Take care of your customers by giving them great customer service. Remember especially the 80/20 rule: that 80% of sales come from 20% of your customers. It may not be exactly this ratio in your company but the vast majority of your revenues will come from a small minority of your customers. Make sure you differentiate the service to your best customers – to the 20% which give you 80% of your sales. All customers are valuable – but they are not all equally valuable.

Develop a customer database

Make it a priority to develop a customer (and prospect) marketing database, not just an accounts database. Your customer database will be a great marketing asset to your business and a potential source of additional revenue and profits.

Maintain regular, relevant value-adding contact with customers

Communicate regularly and relevantly with your customers, whether this is by email, direct mail, telephone or face to face. This keeps you in your customer’s mind when their needs arise. Email marketing can be an effective tool for how you communicate with customers; but make sure that what you communicate to customers has the right blend of value-adding content and sales messages. Consider setting aside an hour in your diary every fortnight to ‘call’ ten customers.

Test reciprocal marketing

Use the power of your customer database to engage in reciprocal marketing with selected joint-venture partners. Consider one other business that has access to your ideal target customers. Why not ask the MD of that company to send a communication to their customer base endorsing you as a supplier of your specialist services on the basis that you will do likewise for them? Of course this has to be sincere. If you have just three or four reciprocal arrangements like this, over the next year you could leverage the power of your customer base and gain access to a wide set of new opportunities.

Upsell and cross sell

Put a systematic method into place for upselling enhanced products and services to your customers. Example: Technology is advancing. Are your customers aware of these developments and the benefits of upgrading their existing systems?

Put a systematic method into place for cross selling your other products and services to your existing customers. You may be surprised by how many of your customers are not aware of the full breadth of your product and service range.

Ask for referrals

Your clients are a wonderful potential source of referrals. If your top 20% customers recommended you and you brought in one new customer from each of those existing customers, this would have a dramatic impact on your sales. Create a strong incentive for your customers to give you referrals. That could be a financial reward or a gift – whatever is most meaningful to those who recommend you. Communicate this request to those customers through the media they most favour (email, letter, telephone, face to face).

Ask for customer feedback

Feedback is a gift. It lets you know how your business is doing and what you could do better. Choose your questions carefully so they inform your actions going forward. Example:  “What is currently missing from our range that you that you would like us to offer?”

The answers you receive may surprise you. Good! Those answers represent ways to grow your business and develop your customer relationships.

Develop your key accounts

Identify the key accounts that you and your sales team should proactively contact. Agree a strategy for understanding their priorities and identifying opportunities for additional sales. Make a plan for meeting with those customers face to face to make the following enquiries:

  • How can we improve our service to you?
  • How much of your total spend on this category of purchases do we represent?
  • What do you need that we can help you with?
  • What else are you buying that is related to the products and services we provide for you?
  • What other locations are you operating from?
  • Who could you refer us to?

Make occasional irresistible offers

Often the best approach is a simple, short message – a one-page letter or brief email. Make it an offer that’s only for your customers, tailored as much as possible for each customers uniquely, as a reward for their loyalty.

Make your website a magnet

Don’t forget the value of your website to customers as well to prospects. You need fresh, interesting and engaging content that informs, educates and entices customers to come back.

Choose one of these tips to implement in the next month, and then select another the following month and so on, until you have tested all or most of these strategies to grow your sales to customers. You should see your sales to customers increase.

Jim Rathbone is the Managing Director of Rathbone Results. Contact him here