By Adrian Swinscoe, Director, RARE Business

When trying to engineer new growth, many businesses fall into the trap of just trying to buy new customers. However, there’s an easier way of increasing your sales than courting new customers. It’s generating more sales from your existing customers. Rather than going down the path of generating new relationships why not try and develop the relationships you have already built up with existing or past customers. They already know you and they like what you do for them.

Let me give you a couple of examples of how that has worked for a some clients that I have worked with.

First of all, a client that we work with (they make custom made wood products) was recently struggling to come up with ways to generate new business from existing clients. They were even hesitant about just calling up clients to keep in touch due the nature of their clients. As a result, we came up with an idea that they offer a free service or health-check for the work they had done for their existing clients. This was something that they were comfortable with.

Keen to get going, they started making calls and their first call generated a time to go round and visit one of their clients and deliver their health-check service. The client was delighted with the service and was astounded that they were doing this for free, where most of their competitors were charging for this type of customer care. The client was so delighted that on the day of the service visit they scheduled £20,000 of new work. Not bad for a bit of brainstorming and one phone call!

The lesson here is to think about what you can provide to your clients that has limited incremental cost to your business but offers high perceived value to your clients? Sometimes, you have to give before you can receive.

The second example I want to share with you concerns a friend of mine that has bought a bike recently. He’s a keen cyclist and it was an expensive bike. However, after the purchase, my friend never heard from the shop again. That surprised me. How much effort would it have taken for that shop to collect my friend’s contact details, put them on the mailing list, make a note to call them in 6 weeks to schedule them in for their ‘free’ tune up services and then to follow up with them on any other items of ‘kit’ that they mentioned or expressed an interest in when in the shop? How much more could my friend be worth to that cycling shop?

I hope that these two examples give you some ideas of ways that you can generate extra value from your existing customers. What extra are you now going to do for your your customers?

Adrian Swinscoe is Director of RARE Business - adrian@rarebusiness.co.uk


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