How do you build your business during this time? One of the ways is with your existing customers. Most of you know by now that I am all about prospecting. A few years ago I wrote the book, High-Profit Prospecting and recently, I just released the book, A Mind for Sales.
Let me tell you something, though. You cannot forego the opportunity of building your business with existing customers. I will walk you through the 10 ways of how to do this. As I walk through them, I would encourage you to take notes. See which one most resonates with you. Jot down which one or two you’ll run out and do right now!
By the way, be sure to hit subscribe because I put a new video out like this every week. And check out my website at: thesaleshunter.com where you’ll find all the info about our online university. This program contains a multitude of in-depth insights around a variety of pertinent topics, specifically related to the current pandemic.
Let’s dive into how to build your business with existing customers in a pandemic…
1. Maximize Your Supply Chain
Regardless of what you sell, there’s always a supply chain set up. You work with vendors, so you want to go back to your vendors and ask them what else they have. Chances are, there may be something that they have, that you’re not aware of, that your existing customers can take advantage of.
By the way, since you’re asking this question, the vendor will ask if they can come along with you on a sales call. They’ll want to help you out and see what you’re doing. This is great; not only are you helping your vendor out, but you’re also helping your customer and growing your own business. It is amazing what you can do just by simply maximizing your current supply chain.
2. Engage More People
I want you to connect with as many people as possible within your customer. Often, we get so caught up and focused on this certain person because they are who we are selling to. We say that only that one person is our buyer and fail to realize who else is in the organization. Take time to intentionally engage more people in every customer. Also, engage more people in your own company and remember number one: maximize your supply chain.
The more people you engage, the greater your probability for success.
3. Create Partnerships
So, number one was maximize your supply chain and number two was engage more people. Within those two, there might be other relationships that you can set up where you can help co-sell another product. They may be able to help sell you. You may be able to help this customer.
When you create more partnerships, you’re able to better balance out the ebbs and flows. So, where is a partnership that you might be able to form?
4. Know the Customer’s Customer
This is so critical. I’m amazed at the number of salespeople I run into who have no clue. Many times, when I ask salespeople what their customer does and who their customer’s customers are, they just give me a blank stare. They have no idea.
Your objective is to know the customer’s customer as well as the customer knows their customer. This allows you to bring them more insights. This helps you identify new opportunities, ones that they may be looking past. Most importantly, knowing your customer’s customer allows you to stand out and be distinctly different than other salespeople out there that they work with.
5. Own the Relationship
Take ownership of the relationship with your customer. This means that you know everything about them. Know their birthdays, key dates, etc. This isn’t just a relationship related to business. By owning the relationship, it means it’s also a personal one. So, are you connected with your customer on LinkedIn? Are you connected with them on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media networks?
Owning the relationship gives you the opportunity to gain more insight into them and what exactly they do. It actually increases your level of authenticity with the customer. In turn, the customer will trust you with more things. It’s a win-win all around.
6. Anticipate Everything
Take all of your customers and with one piece of paper for each one, write down every single problem they could possibly have. These are more than just problems with you, but also general problems that they could have in their business.
From those individual problem lists for each customer, begin looking for solutions and ideas. What do you see as you read through the customer’s problems? Anticipate everything that could happen. Get ahead of the problem before it actually becomes a problem. By doing this, you wind up creating more value for the customer because they know that you’re thinking of them already. This enables you and the customer to have more conversations. You’ll probably find yourself in a conversation that you never thought you would have.
Since you’ve thought through the possible challenges, you have ideas. They might not be the best ideas; that’s ok. The customer will be impressed just because they know and see that you’re thinking ahead.
7. Monitor Quality Closely
Often, if you have an existing customer as a long-time customer, things just kind of slip. You know, things just fade. It’s usually not intentional. It just happens over time. The quality isn’t there anymore. Delivery dates are missed. Other things are missed. No big deal, because you remind yourself that they’re a great customer. It’s no problem. But then, suddenly, the customer says they are going to go talk to somebody else. They decide they’re going to see if somebody else has an opportunity that they can provide for them.
Keep an eye on quality. Closely monitor. Stay on top it and keep the customer informed. You may have some quality issues. You may say that you’re just going to let them slide; don’t! Let the customer know. That builds authenticity and trust.
8. Industry Insights
What do you know about the industry in which this company operates? What do you know about your industry?
Recently, I’ve challenged myself and everyone around me to read about their industry 30 minutes every day. This is something I’ve done in the past and am starting to do again, because it brings so many benefits. This is how you become an informed salesperson. Take a second to watch the video/blog I wrote about this just a couple weeks ago.
Will you join me in this challenge? Let’s get after it so we can be seen as the expert. Your customers need solutions. Remember that every sale you made is only a good sale if it creates another sale. One of the ways I accomplish this is by having industry insights so I can anticipate challenges. Every idea that I’ve shared up to this point helps fuel this idea. Having industry insights makes you much more valuable.
9. Availability and Service
This isn’t just of your product. It’s availability and service of you. Are you available? Are you ready to serve? When I saw availability, this doesn’t necessarily mean when they say jump, you ask how high? No, there’s always must be boundaries. Show respect just as you want to receive respect. It goes both ways.
Stop and ask yourself: when my customer calls, am I available or do I make myself available? Am I willing to serve my customers? If your customer asks if you can help them out even if it’s outside the industry, are you willing to help? Are you willing to serve them when they have a charitable event? It’s not about just writing a check. It’s about showing up to help paint homes or fill baskets with food and water for those in need. Service is not with a check, it’s with your hands. Are you willing to serve?
10. Customer Objectives
Do you know what your customers objectives are? How many times have you really gone out on their website to truly understand what each objective means? Who are your customer’s shareholders? Who are they beholden to? What critical issues are they facing?
I want you to understand the customer’s objectives from not just a company standpoint but from a personal standpoint. Find out what motivates the people that you work with and what drives their decision -making process. The more you understand the customer’s objectives, the more opportunities you’ll have to build existing business with your customers, even in the midst of a pandemic.
That wraps up the list of 10 ways to grow your business with existing customers, even in the middle of a pandemic. If you haven’t already, pick up my latest book, A Mind for Sales where I talk a lot about the mindset of how you position yourself to be seen differently. Go out to my website and learn more about the terrific online program. I want you to take advantage of it but more importantly, I want you to get as much business as you possibly can out of your existing customers.
Copyright 2020, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.