Acquiring a new customer is hard work. In fact, you make your biggest investment during the customer acquisition period which could take several months, countless meetings, and numerous revisions of your proposal. Finally, you successfully demonstrated that your product or service is the best there is, and you close that sale.
So what’s next? Impeccable delivery of what you just sold is obviously next, but what else can you do to maximize that considerable investment you made in the form of time and energy? Actually, there’s a lot you can do. In fact, there’s a lot you must do as your job as a business developer (or sales executive) is far from over.
Now is the best time to expand that sale you just made. Just because your customer purchased one particular product or service doesn’t mean he/she can’t be interested in something that’s similar, or entirely different all together. The point is that the customer just made a purchase after having decided to trust your brand, so now is a great time to capitalize on this and offer additional products or services that are applicable.
We’ll use the cases of a bank (service) and a software company (product) for the purposes of this article. So applying cross-selling to these two cases, the bank’s customer service representative can offer the holder of that new deposit account a credit card or two, a checking account with premium service, etc. In most incidents, the unsolicited offer will materialize in another service having been sold. At the same token, the software company can offer another solution at a discounted price if purchased (bundled) together with the first one. Again, the customer is about to enter his/her credit card details into the form, so offering other products at a 50-percent discount are likely to yield extra sales.
This is also a great technique you can deploy to generate more business from the same customer. Up-selling sometimes works best at the time of the initial purchase, an in other cases after a while when the customer has tried and used the product or service. When you exercise up-selling, you want to get the customer to purchase higher-end options of the same service/product he/she has already purchased. (Up-selling of course also works well when done simultaneously with cross-selling in many cases, but be careful not to overwhelm the customer-to-be.)
In the case of the bank, the customer service representative can schedule a follow-up call in six months to offer an upgrade to a Gold credit card, or locking in that deposit account for a longer period in exchange for a higher interest rate. The software company should now offer the customer to purchase the Premium version of the Standard solution she/he is about to order online.) A discount or any other form of incentive will of course help a great deal here.)
Ask for Referrals
This is a technique you may want to deploy after a few weeks or months that the customer has been doing business with you. The customer is by now quite satisfied and happy with the service/ product you provided, and a reasonable level of trust and rapport has developed. Presumably, your marketing team has also maintained continuous contact via newsletters and other tactics. You can capitalize on this relationship and ask the customer for names and contact details of people they think might like the service or product they’ve been using.
Reverting back to the example of our banker, he/she could contact customers to ask for referrals to contact about that great credit card service the bank has, and even offer points (or another rewards system) for each new transaction that generates from the referrals. Software companies typically offer additional free services in exchange for referrals that generate new accounts. Dropbox will for example increase your storage capacity for each new account you generate from referrals.
There are probably lots of additional tactics you can deploy to maximize your sale, but it all boils down to not being content with a purchase that was just made, and always being on the lookout as to how that purchase can be grown, nourished, and expanded. And in the process, you are exercising great customer retention tactics that generate additional revenue from repeat business, which is the most important type of income for any business.
About the Author
Pinnacle Business & Marketing Consulting is a results-driven boutique consulting firm that specializes in providing clients with practical and pragmatic solutions to their business and marketing challenges.
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