Don’t spend too much money on banner stands, pop up stands or exhibition stands.
One mistake many business owners and marketing departments make over and over again is spending too much time and money on securing new customers and clients, spending money on advertising, exhibition stands, banner stands and all sorts of marketing activities. I admit it’s a fact of life that every business does need a stream of new revenue to ensure continuous growth. This as well as replacing the lost business as a result of natural attrition (such as 20% of companies go out of business each year, people dying, moving, no need for your products and services any more, etc.), however many miss the potential profit sitting right under their noses’ – “their existing customer or client base”.
The most cost-effective sales and profit you will ever make.
Reading on this subject will throw up all sorts of statistical percentages and numbers depending on who you read, mainly about how many more times expensive it is to get a new client than retain an old one, but the basic fact is that;
“It is much easier to sell to someone you’ve sold to before than it is to sell to someone totally new”.
There are many and varied reasons for this. Near the top if not at the top of the list is the element of trust! It is a fact that any transaction between two or more parties implies a certain element of risk for all parties, buyers and sellers alike, its human nature.
Like us say a client wants to buy a banner stand, pop up stand or exhibition stand, it essentially means we’ve successfully gained their trust (this co-incidentally is why offering guarantees works so well, it puts the risk of the transaction on to the seller, that is to say, buyers can buy with confidence). The hard part is getting someone’s trust! This is no mean feat. It can take some businesses weeks, even months to complete the sales cycle, not always down to the complexity or price, it’s usually down to gaining the trust of the potential client – persuading him or her that they are making a safe purchase and getting value for money. In other words, getting them to trust you and your company.
So by selling to your existing or past customers and clients assuming of course that you’ve met and hopefully exceeded all their expectations you can short circuit this time and cost as they already trust you. This is what makes selling to them relatively easy.
But it gets even better: it’s not only easy, but it’s far more profitable for many reasons. Some of which are:
- Every customer or client won costs you lots of money (remember how ever you gain the business you’re effectively buying customers). So if you can repeat sell to any of them, it stands to reason you’re increasing your initial “return on investment” on whatever marketing and sales efforts in both time and money you had to make to close the sale. Think about your own personal life and business, the people who help you. When you analyse it you like most people are not price-buyers, of course it’s a factor and you must perceive you are getting value for money but you’ll pay a premium for extraordinary service and a trusted product. This means you’ll stick with people or present suppliers pretty much forever, even when the price is higher!! So imagine the amount of work any new supplier will have to do to entice you away.
- Because they already trust you and as long as they remember you and you are easy to find, they’ll tend to increase spend and spend it more often. Often the first purchase that someone makes from you is a kind of “test”, even if it’s subconscious. If you pass that “test” then they will frequently and naturally increase the size of the risk they’ll chance on you and your company.
- The better they get to know you – the more they will trust you. They are also more likely to refer you to friends, family, business colleagues and others. Referrals are hugely important and it’s a free contribution to ROI. Most Directors neglect to factor in the infinite value of referred business. The art, no the science of referrals is a whole topic in itself, but it’s fundamentally based on you having people who trust you enough, to expose themselves to recommending you to people they care about.
For example I know at least one very successful firm of exhibition stand designers who won’t work with a client unless they have been personally referred by an existing client (which also means his sales and marketing cost is zero, but quality of the leads he gets is unbeatable and his premium prices are never questioned). His entire marketing strategy for new business is based on his existing clients and the fantastic job he and his staff does.
So how do you sell more to your existing clients and customers?
The easiest and simplest thing to do is just ask them to buy more from you. In our case banner stands, pop up stands or exhibition stands. It’s that simple most businesses don’t! Really! Do this and then constantly and relentlessly follow up, again and again and again, at least seven times, which is every marketing guru’s mantra “that it takes a minimum of seven contacts to make a sale”.
Following up with your customers and clients doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. A simple newsletter like this if emailed cost pennies or will cost you about £1.30 to have printed and mailed. If you’re not willing to invest £15.60 a year on keeping in touch with your existing customers, then you urgently need to rethink your entire attitude to sales and marketing.
Secondly if you have sent a quote or tender for the business then a simple email auto follow up program can send automatic follow ups. You don’t even have to do anything it will do it for you!! https://www.emailaddressmanager.com/outlook/follow-up-email.html is the address of a simple follow up programme which links to Outlook buy it here and it will cost you the extortionate price of £20. How many extra sales would you have to make to cover that investment?
A third thing you can do takes a bit more work and a lot more courage to carry out but will pay dividends.
To begin with, you have to realise and understand not all your customers and clients are equal, not a very politically correct statement in our PC world but the facts are some spend more than others and are a lot less hard work. Mr. Pareto’s century old, tried and tested rule also applies. Divide your customer list and take a look at your numbers, you’ll see something like 80% of your business coming from just 20% of your existing customer list. They are your most important “Grade A” customers and clients.
At the bottom end of the scale you’re going to find 80% of your time consuming hassles, headaches and complaints come from just 20% of them. Mark these as your Grade C lot (you’ll see why I’m not calling them customers or clients in a minute). And that just leaves everyone else and these are, guess what? Your Grade B clients.
So what do you do with them – here’s what I strongly recommend you do:
- Grade C’s – Sack and get rid of all them. That’s right politely tell them you are changing the way you do business and they need to find an alternative supplier. In fact why not refer them on to your competitors; you’ll be doing yourself a big favour and your competitors will think you’re doing them a favour, but you’re not.
- Put your Grade B’s into a standard follow-up sequence. Monthly newsletter, weekly or monthly e-news letter, maybe a postcard or some other piece every week. Now they’re getting something in the mail every week; plus frequent emails, etc.
- Grade A’s – treat them as if they are Royalty. Send them personal messages and v.i.p. offers. Call them occasionally on the phone and ask how they’re doing (without trying to sell them anything). Wine them and dine them if appropriate. Find out as much as you can about them personally, birthdays, kids, wife (even her birthday, how impressed is he going to be if you send his wife a bunch of flowers from the company of course, a gift has to be reciprocated) and show an interest in them and their lives. If, say, you learn one of them is a fan of horse racing and you see an interesting article in a magazine, clip it out and post it to them along with a handwritten note. These personal touches will vastly increase your sales.
Implement all or some of these strategies and watch your sales grow and dramatically boost your profits using an asset you already own — your customer list!