A gazillion (probably not quite – but it must be close) studies have shown that it is much more cost-effective to generate more revenue by increasing sales to existing customers than it is to go out and find new ones.
Obviously, we’re not giving your sales team permission to rest on their laurels and quit finding new customers, but it’s important to not neglect the loyal band of followers you already have. Keep them sweet, and more importantly consistently paying, with effective strategies for increasing sales to existing customers.
Find out what your customers want.
Reach out to your regular customers and learn more about them. A simple way to do this on a large scale is to conduct a survey. Ask what keeps them awake at night and what they’d do to solve this problem if time or money were no object. Then work out how you can help them. Think of it as a new product opportunity. If you can smooth away your customers’ inner-most worries by offering a solution that really works, they’ll be pre-ordering before you can say “let’s run a pilot.”
Start a customer loyalty scheme.
Take a leaf out of the sugar-coated recipe books of food and beverage giants like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. Offer your customers rewards for regularly buying your products and services. Depending on your industry, offers such as ‘buy 10, get the eleventh free’ and points save schemes work brilliantly, and encourage customers to buy from you time and time again in preference to moving over to your competitors. Customer loyalty schemes that require an initial sign-up give you the opportunity to collect useful data and use this to target your customers with specific offers that you know they will appreciate.
Use up-selling and cross-selling techniques.
When you’re wondering how to increase sales to existing customers, employ up-selling and cross-selling techniques. Simply put, up-selling and cross-selling are about selling new products to existing customers by persuading them to move up to higher value products. Techniques like providing free trials, targeted offers and sharing detailed case studies can work particularly well to increase sales to existing customers.
Keep in regular contact.
Did you know something as simple as a regular, high-quality newsletter can be a game changer for customer retention and selling to existing customers? In fact, in a 2016 survey, email marketing came out as far and away the top online tactic to drive customer retention; with 80% of respondents claiming it is beneficial. In contrast, only 44% thought social media was good for retaining customers. By sending out monthly (or more frequent if possible) communications that are relevant to the recipient, offer useful information and are enjoyable to read, you can connect with your customers and send targeted offers to tempt them to purchase from you again.
Run events and seminars.
Set yourself up as an industry leader by organizing a conference, seminar or other event. Line up interesting speakers, invite your customers to come along and make them feel special. You can use the networking opportunity to strengthen relationships, show off new or cutting edge products and concentrate on selling new products to existing customers.
Don't let them leave.
If you’ve ever tried to leave your cell phone operator to move to another one, you’ll find you are offered a raft of incentives to stay. This is because they recognize that you’re valuable to them. Why not follow suit? Put in place offers that your sales teams can use to persuade customers to stay with you when they’re thinking of moving to a competitor. And be on the lookout for customers you haven’t seen for a while. Send targeted offers or discounts that could persuade them to come back to you sooner rather than later.