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 additional sales?
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, small business owners and marketing professionals attract more clients and be more successful. Sign up to receive the Free Marketing Plan eBook, ‘7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business’ at http://www.marketingforsuccess.com