Customers are feeling pressure to get more done with less, so many of them are reducing the number of companies they do business with. At the same time, companies are urging their salespeople to increase sales to present customers.
Salespeople who stay focused on the needs of customers are less likely to be unseated by special deals offered by competitors. They may also be rewarded with increased customer loyalty and repeat sales.
When conducting sales training, here are three areas you should stress salespeople focus on when trying to increase sales to existing customers — along with strategies that can improve their performance in each:
Salespeople who are willing to put in the hours preparing and learning about their customers, their problems and their needs record the highest penetration.
- Identify products or services the customer could buy but doesn’t. Calculate the total potential of the account by estimating what’s being bought from the competition.
- Develop a plan for expanding your pool of contacts within the account. Many managers have exclusive buying authority for their departments. Try to identify them all. Get plugged into your customer’s network and associations.
- Keep trying to add value in all of your customer contacts. The most important contribution you can give to existing customers is your knowledge and expertise. What information do you possess that can be of benefit to customers? Define value in customer terms. The possibilities of creating value are limitless: faster service, better delivery, easier ordering, unique features and benefits, etc.
- Give customers ideas on how to improve their business operations. Try to find solutions that customers may not find on their own. Everyone is struggling in this economy. You may be able to pick up ideas and techniques that can be helpful to other customers. Think in terms of solving problems for customers. Deliver customized or unique solutions that meet the customer’s special needs. Try to become the greatest information resource the customer has.
- Make customers feel they have a special relationship with you. Look behind the numbers to understand the customer’s business strategy and financial situation. What are the customer’s business growth goals? What are the biggest profit drivers and drains? How can you help customers expand their business?
- Identify your customer’s customers. How can you help your customers increase penetration with their customers? Get all the information you can on customers. Keep moving closer to them. Once they know you and are comfortable with your approach, increased sales will follow.
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