Why Existing Customers are the Key to Increased Sales
Anyone who works in sales can appreciate how difficult it is to secure a new client.
If you think of acquiring a new customer in terms of the effort it takes to build new relationships with new people, prove your capabilities, establish credibility for yourself and your company as well as negotiate new agreements, then you can understand why your existing customers are your biggest assets.
When working with existing customers, the barriers of developing new relationships and proving the ROI of your product or service won’t necessarily apply since you’ve already established trust and have a direct connection with the client.
Prospecting within your current customer base offers many advantages and you can start maximizing your relationships with these 4 tips:
Mapping the Account
There are usually very strong synergies between the needs of different departments and/or divisions within the same company. However, accessing them does not always come easily.
You have to research the structure of the organization and ask yourself: Is it silo’ed? De-centralized? Centralized? Run autocratically?
How do you figure this out? Well, this calls for a little investigative work. Consider using your current contacts within the company as well as getting help from other outside vendors and allies to piece together a map of the company’s structure.
You may have an organizational chart, which will give you a good starting point, but a company’s structure more often than not resembles a maze. You must figure out how everything is linked together so that you can eventually leverage the success you’ve had in one department or division and apply it to other parts of the organization.
Try this: Start mapping the structure of your major accounts. You can get started by creating a simple spreadsheet with column headers such as: Name of the department/division you’re targeting, how you know if they have budget authority, and how the department/division is connected to the part of the company where you currently have credibility and presence. Your goal is to learn as much as you can about the decision making process and what players are involved. This way, you can more easily penetrate the other divisions.
Visualize the Sale
When you have a presence within an account, you are no longer starting from scratch. You can leverage your contacts and your company’s history to generate and accelerate new sales.
Now that you have mapped the account and have a better understanding of the structure, you can be more effective in scoping out sales possibilities by using your contacts and insights to look at each department/division in order to interact with key players to determine (1) if a sale is on the horizon, (2) if it matches your capabilities and strengths, and (3) how you would approach the sale if doing so differently from your previous sale(s) makes sense.
So, look for opportunities, but be ready to adjust your sales strategy based on a firm analysis of what would make the best selling proposition to the new contact.
Try this: Based on your experience within the account, visualize what solutions could apply to the other parts of the organization. For each different department or division, note what you think you might sell, how it aligns with the customer’s needs/situation, and any competitive threat. Once you’ve identified these things, consider how you would uniquely position yourself against the competition.
Go To the Top
When making an initial sale, you usually try to find the most logical person to whom your value proposition makes the most sense and to whom you have the easiest access.
However, once you are within an account, the conditions change.
Rather than starting all over again, calling at a lower level, you now go to the highest level of customer contact who would benefit most from your value proposition and who is in a position to approve your sale and accelerate the sales cycle.
When you do this, you capitalize on your past success and leverage it to gain better traction. The more adept you become at this, the greater your ability will be to sell within the account. But, the starting point is identifying these “top players” and determining their roles in a sale.
Try this: Review everything you know about the account. Then, note who the person at the top would be for your sale, their role in decision-making, and who you can work with (an existing contact) to gain access to the top player.
What will the Sale Be Worth?
Once you go through all the analytical and planning techniques covered above, you should be in a position to make an informed decision about which sale to pursue and with whom. When doing this, follow four criteria: (1)The highest revenue, (2) the greatest profit, (3) the lowest cost of sale (including resource, financial outlays, effort and time), (4) and the sale that best strengthens your overall position in the account.
Try this: Review your potential sales and select the one that best meets the four criteria above.
Selling doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. You can increase revenue and sales momentum by staying focused on cultivating current accounts and relationships. Don’t make selling any harder than it has to be, just remember to utilize the assets right in front of you by mapping each of your accounts, visualizing the next sale to the next department/division, identifing the top players and proper decision makers, and finally, consider what the sale is worth in terms of relationship currency, resources, time, and profit.
About Steve Bookbinder
Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.