I read an interesting article pointing up the importance of having customers that are willing to buy from you over and over again. In the article, a survey reported that a fast food restaurant determined that a repeat customer was worth about $11,000 over their lifetime, while a large automobile dealer said for their firm the figure was $332,000.
A business equipment company discovered that a very satisfied customer is six times more likely to repurchase equipment from them than a somewhat satisfied customer would be. A major bank learned that reducing customer defections by just 5% resulted in an 85% profit increase for the bank. At an insurance brokerage firm, the profit increase was 50% for reducing cancellations by 5%, while an auto servicing chain sported a 30% profit bump from the same lost customer reduction.
Regardless which set of statistics you cite, it’s obvious that there’s a big payoff for staying in close contact with your existing customer base and doing everything possible to keep them smiling.
With the prior statistics in mind, you should be excited about cross selling to your existing customers. It’s as simple as proposing additional services and products to those who are already patronizing your business. As a professional seller, this is the least risky and most profitable activity you can undertake. There are several common sense reasons that statement is true:
- Experts say that working to add a new customer is four times more costly and time-consuming than cross selling to existing customers.
- Additionally cross selling creates better retention because the customer becomes more reliant on you and your firm, meaning the likelihood of buying from competitor’s decreases.
- Finally, most customers appreciate the convenience provided by buying from fewer service companies. Who enjoys calling up vendors and listening to multiple dog and pony shows? Less is always more in the eyes of your customers, when it comes to dealing with salespeople.
The key to a customer being willing to purchase additional services or products is continually ensuring that they are satisfied with what they are currently purchasing from you. If the customer is unhappy, why would they want more of anything you offer?
When customers are satisfied with their original purchases, cross selling then becomes more of a customer service function than a sales function. Just think how many times you have made additional purchases from vendors and providers who have met your expectations?
The most important thing to remember is by cross selling I don’t mean pushing products. I’m referring to providing solutions that meet customer’s needs. This is what you did when you initially sold them. Therefore, déjà vu means asking the right questions. Following are several examples:
“What do you like best about your _________ provider?”
“What do you least like about your provider of ___________?”
“What might cause you to change companies?
“If you were me, how would you proceed with that?”
Listen for hot button customer comments that could tip you off concerning products or services they might not even know you handle, such as:
- “My electric bill has really gotten out of hand. I wish there was some way to control it better” (Maybe they’re not aware you market and install radiant heat barriers).
- “It sure scared me when I read about that man, just 6 blocks from here whose house was broken into and robbed during broad daylight.” (Good time to discuss your alarm system and service?)
You should train your ears to listen carefully to EVERYTHING your customers say in conversation, since you never know when an add-on opportunity may present itself.
- It is a good idea to conduct a periodic review with all your existing customers. This is a good business practice because it shows you care about your customers. Additionally, it will also provide a forum for you to mention and discuss your ancillary services/products, possibly leading to an add-on or cross sale.
- Don’t weary in well doing. You may have discussed your offerings during your last review, without success. Remember though, that just because there was no need or desire six months ago, doesn’t mean the customer feels that same way today. You should re-propose these items on subsequent follow-up visits, if a need still exists.
- If you are honest with yourself, you know how frequently you have too few prospects on your daily planner. Schedule these reviews and connect with your customers, even if it’s only by phone call. Who knows, maybe you will hear, “Just last week we decided we needed one of those, but I had no idea you handled them. Let’s talk.”
—————Doug Made Jean Laugh——————
“I laughed SO hard when I saw the “Customer Service Calamity” posts. Doug, the author, also wrote a book on selling that offers not only solid selling skills, he delivers his message and great stories, in an engaging, entertaining and purpose-filled way.” Jean T., Atlanta, Ga. Click here if you too need a laugh.
In case you forgot, likeability and trust will be the reasons customers buy additional services, just as they were when they bought from you initially. Make sure you remain trustworthy and continue to do those things they liked about you when you first met.
Finally, reps who will become the most successful cross sellers will be the ones who can create lots of Good Will Ambassadors throughout their sales territories. If you’ve forgotten, GWA’s are customers who are so connected to you and your company that they function almost like unpaid employees, always talking positively about you and what you sell. They will sing your praises and carry your water to others in their circle, as long as you continue to wow them.
It’s hard to find anybody that will argue that word of mouth is not the best advertising, and creating a GWA is the ultimate application of this principle. Just a few of them will eventually grow into a fan club that will ensure your ability to own the marketplace like nobody in your office ever has before.
So, although you can do this anytime during the year, if you’re looking for somebody to see and something to do during your offseason, you just stumbled on it!
©2016 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC