Business owners are constantly striving to increase sales. They market, run promotions, and try to obtain new customers. In fact, if you asked business owners how they are attempting to grow their businesses, they would often say, “I’m always trying to get new customers.” Of course, this is certainly one way to grow a business. However, there are a few strategies you can implement to capitalize on your existing customer base.
Don’t Forget About Loyal Customers
In the quest to obtain new customers, it can be easy to forget who helped build the business in the first place...loyal customers. Without loyal customers repeatedly purchasing from a business, the business is almost destined to remain stagnant rather than experience steady, upward growth. While a business may always be trying to acquire new customers, it cannot forget about its current customers.
Nurture for More Sales
There is no question that keeping a current customer is less costly and takes less effort than marketing for a new customer. Understanding this concept allows business owners to concentrate on not only keeping current customers but also extracting more revenue from those same customers. Rather than always being on “the hunt” for new customers, business owners should ask themselves, “How do we increase sales from our existing customer base?” For example, do large corporations such as Apple and Amazon only hope for either one transaction per customer or do they position themselves in the anticipation of making multiple transactions per customer over a long period of time? It's fair to say you certainly know the answer to this question.
Know Your Customer
Whether you’re selling either a product or a service, understanding who are your customers, why they’re completing this purchase, and how either this product or service can be improved upon is quite powerful. For example, if it’s not a returning customer, imagine the valuable information in knowing why the customer made only one purchase and is not returning. This information is vital for either business to consumer sales or business to business sales.
A simple two-question email survey (can be either anonymous or not) produces a treasure trove of information, which if used correctly can lead to returning customers and ultimately, increased sales.
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest), how likely is it that you would recommend our products or services to a friend or business associate?
What do you like least or most about our products and services?
A business owner can assume that individuals giving the business a high ranking on the first question are probably loyal customers and will most likely repeat their buying experience in the future. Taking information from the second question allows a business to better satisfy the needs and desires of those loyal customers. Additionally, this information allows a business to diversify and/or expand its line of products and services to existing customers. Therefore, creating an opportunity to increase sales from the same customer base without much additional effort and/or marketing dollars.
The Dissatisfied Customer
The same two-question survey allows a business owner to equally understand why certain customers are not pleased with the business’ products and services, likely not repeating their buying experience. Furthermore, those giving a lower rating to the business (not likely to make a recommendation to others) provides valuable information to the business owner as to why the customer was dissatisfied with their experience in dealing with the business; valuable information indeed. In doing so, the business can improve its products, services, sales assistance, customer experience, return policy…the list goes on. The hope is that a dissatisfied customer might be salvaged to either purchase again or at the least, whatever went “wrong” with the sale that caused the customer to be dissatisfied will not be repeated on another customer.
Improve Relationships, Improve Sales
With all of this being said, it’s so important to use the valuable information from your current customer base to improve upon your sales. Understand not only what the customer desires but also why they may have become dissatisfied. Nurture good relationships, try to repair broken relationships, cross-sell, up-sell, and expand your product/service lines. Understanding, implementing change, and appreciating your loyal customers will not only lead to greater revenue but also more profit.