Exalt Your Customers to Increase Your Sales
In the August, 2009 newsletter, I spoke about one of the strategies to thrive in challenging times is to exalt the customer. Several of my clients are focusing on this strategy as a way to grow their business. They are doing this by adapting the sales process to focus more on sales growth through their existing customers. In this article I offer some tips on how they’re doing this.
One of the first steps in the sales process is to gain favorable attention. With existing customers this entails all of the things you do to stay in touch with them, even if they haven’t purchased from you recently. The idea here is to keep your brand and products/services top of mind with your customers. Some of the things to consider are:
- Regular newsletters which add value to your customers and are related to your products or services.
- Use social media, such as blogs, twitter, Facebook or Linkedin updates to offer promotions or other timely information that may be of interest to your customers.
- Phone them to thank them for their business and inquire about how you might help them. S
- end them articles, news items of interest and congratulations when you see something of interest related to their industry or their company.
The primary purpose for any communication is to elicit some sort of behavioral response. Staying in touch, by itself doesn’t create new sales. To cause your customers to purchase from you again the other steps of the sales process come into play, the next of which is to discover wants and needs. The advantage with your past and existing customers is that you have information about their wants and needs from previous purchases. The question becomes what is new? Don’t presume that their wants and needs remain the same over time, but previous purchases are a good place to start a discussion about what’s new. A few clients use customer service rep scripts that specifically probe current and previous purchases to find out if there are any changing or recurring needs that need to be addressed. This can be done at the time of taking a new order or via a phone calling campaign which targets customers who haven’t purchased for awhile. Specific questions are tailored to elicit more information about their current wants and needs.
Using a customer survey done over the phone is another way to discover wants and needs. This approach has the advantage of increasing the understanding of changing needs or trends across your customers. One client hired me to create and conduct such a survey and used the results to create and launch a new product to better serve their customer’s needs.
Coincident with discovering wants and needs, as appropriate, these clients explore the benefits of or the consequences of not addressing these needs now. The idea in this phase of the sales process is to create or highlight the pain of not taking action to address the need now.
Getting a commitment to purchase is the final phase of the process. One client offers a discount or incentive (free accessory) if the customer should purchase now vs. later.
Properly done, your customers will appreciate the care you are taking to help them be better by using your products and services. After all, they hopefully have already experienced the value you provide with your products and services. All you’re doing is assisting them to replicate that experience. Bill and I would be happy to help you explore the options to exalt your customers by helping them to purchase more of your products and services.