“If we can keep our competitors focused on us while we stay focused on the customer, ultimately we’ll turn out all right.”

~Jeff Bezos

So many business owners think they must reach for new customers if they want to expand sales. However, new customers require a lot of time and expense to acquire. A better way to grow sales is to go after your existing customers and fill their needs.

Existing customers are preferable for a few reasons, not the least of which is that they have already shown their commitment to your business by buying your products or services. Existing customers trust you and already have a relationship with you. With new customers, however, you have to earn trust and develop a relationship, which takes time and money.

Your existing customer base is a gold mine. You just need to do some mining to find the nuggets that you want.

I often ask entrepreneurs what percentage of their existing customer base would be interested if they offered a new product or service. Most say they think the majority would. Yet so many of them admit they do not focus their sales efforts on their existing customers, and none of them have a good answer as to why. Rather than upselling their existing customers, they continue to go after new ones.

Implementing a sales strategy targeting existing customers requires a marketing plan. The first step here is assessing the potential of these untapped sales.

To do this, you can send a simple survey out via SurveyMonkey or something similar to a random selection of your customers. The responses will give you an idea of which customers need or want your products or services so you can have a rough approximation of the size of the market. Once you understand the size of the market, you can easily develop some goals and objectives.

It will be relatively easy to develop a specific sales strategy for reaching this untapped market. It will take some time and resources, but existing customers are the low-hanging fruit every business needs to harvest. I guarantee focusing on selling to your existing customers will produce sizeable sales increases.

Now go out and develop a sales strategy targeting existing customers. You need a plan to be successful, of course, but I think you will be surprised to see how much you can glean from your existing customers.

You can do this!

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Jerry Osteryoung
Jerry Osteryoung is a consultant to businesses—he has directly assisted over 3,000 firms. He is the Jim Moran Professor of Entrepreneurship (Emeritus) and Professor of Finance (Emeritus) at Florida State University. He was the founding Executive Director of the Jim Moran Institute and served in that position from 1995 through 2008. His latest book, coauthored with Tim O’Brien, “If You Have Employees, You Really Need This Book,” is a bestseller on Amazon. Email Jerry @ jerry.osteryoung@gmail.com

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