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8 Strategies to get more sales from existing customers

get more sales from existing customers - Guide My Growth

As a business coach, one of the questions I get asked a lot is, How can I increase my sales? The businesses that ask me this are usually focused on finding ways to attract new customers. But in fact, it makes more sense to master strategies to get more sales from existing customers.

Attracting new customers takes time, effort and money. And especially in emerging economies, where time and money are even often limited, because SMEs have to deal with a multitude of challenges.

Your existing customers already know you, trust you and buy from you. It is cheaper and more efficient to sell more to them instead of having to start from scratch.

Customer retention – keeping existing customers loyal to your business – is a key strategy for sustained, organic business growth.

1. First, understand what your customers want

Developing strategies to get more sales from existing customers is not about just trying to sell more to them. It is about understanding their needs and desires, offering the products or services that meet their requirements, and knowing how to communicate effectively with them to inform them about what you are selling!

The easiest way to better understand your customers is to talk to them. Start by asking them why they buy from you and take note of answers that keep coming back. Also ask follow up questions. For example, a customer that tells you that they buy a certain product from you because you are the cheapest, may also keep coming back because of your customer service or your location.

Your next step is to find out what else you can do to serve them.

  • What other issues do they face?
  • What other goals and ambitions do they have?
  • What problems do they face in buying products or services elsewhere?

Listen closely to the answers to determine whether these are things that show you a gap in the market. This information might show you that there is market demand for a new product or service.

Make sure to verify your findings before adding a new product or service!

2. Look for cross-selling and upselling opportunities

Once you have identified products or services that you can add to better serve your customers, look for cross-selling and upselling opportunities. For customers, the benefit mightbe that they can buy most of their products in one place. Or, you might offer the additional convenience of maintenance services. For you, the benefit is increased sales.

Opportunities for cross-selling and upselling can come from your conversations with customers. They can also come from your business data.

If you analyse customer purchase patterns, you can recommend complementary products that add value to your customer’s buying experience. In addition to higher sales, this strategy can also bring you more satisfied customers.

3. Use customer segmentation to develop your marketing strategy

One of the key things to understand is that not all customers are the same. First and foremost, I recommend that you focus your efforts on your Most Profitable Customers. These are the customers that bring in the highest profits, but they are also the ones who are most likely to become a loyal partner and help you grow your business.

Click here to access a free webinar about how to identify your Most Profitable Customers and attract more of them.

Within this group of Most Profitable Customers, customer segmentation can help you further define groups of customers that share similar characteristics. This could be their purchase history, preferences or demographic information (moms, young professionals, people aged 40+ etc).

Segmenting customers allows you to create highly customised – and even personalised – marketing messages and promotions for specific groups of customer. In other words, you can approach each group of customers with an offer that meets their unique needs.

4. Reward customers for their loyalty

Loyalty programmes are powerful tools to encourage repeat business. In addition, if you succeed in creating rewards that your customers like and wants, these programmes can also help you build your brand.

If you don’t have a loyalty programme yet, consider introducing it. These need not be expensive. You can start a very simple and inexpensive loyalty programme based on stamps given each time the customer makes a purchase.

Just make sure to design your loyalty programme so that it aligns with customer preferences. This means that the rewards you offer should be interesting to your customers.

5. Offer exclusive promotions and discounts

This is a good strategy to increase customer loyalty and build up your brand. It is a strategy that you can use to expand your customer loyalty programme.

For example, your customer loyalty programme may offer customers points or stamps for X amount of money spent in your business. It could have 3 levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold categories.

Like with frequent flier programmes, each level requires a certain level of points (or stamps). Each level also comes with certain benefits for customers, like the ability to get a discount or save points to get a product for free.

You can expand this by offering exclusive promotions and discounts that are only available to customers who have reached certain levels. This strategy encourages customers to keep buying from you and also gives them an reward for their loyalty.

6. Introduce a referral programme

In business, word-of-mouth marketing is the best kind of marketing you can get. It is also one of the best ways to get more sales from existing customers!

If your customers are (highly) satisfied with your products and your customer service, encourage them to become ambassadors for your business.

Of course, you should reward them for spreading the word. One way to do this is to offer incentives for referrals, for example, by giving a discount to the existing customer who brings in a new customer.

If you truly want to maximise the potential for sales, also offer a discount to the new customer. But make it valid for a limited period of time to encourage them to quickly start doing business with you.

This strategy expands your customer base and also builds a network of loyal ambassadors who contribute to sustained sales growth.

7. Look for ways to keep adding value to your customers

A good way to do this is by asking for and acting on feedback from customers. Introduce ways for customers to give their feedback. This could be through idea boxes at your place of business, online surveys or face-to-face communication.

This input from customers is very valuable, because it shows you where improvements can be made. Moreover, when you address customer concerns or implement their recommendations, it increases customer satisfaction and helps your business stand out from competitors. And this, in turn, attracts more customers. Just be sure to tell your customers what you did, because many businesses forget to do this!

You can also add value by partnering with other businesses. This strategy could be good for you if you don’t have the money to invest in new products or services, or if you want to reach a new group of customers.

In considering a partnership, make sure that the products or services you offer are complementary and do not compete with each other. Depending on the type of business partnership you choose, also take some time to assess the other business owner to ensure that you have similar values and ways of working.

8. Choose the most effective communication channels

In all your communication with customers, always choose the communication channels that are the most effective.

This means understanding how and where customers spend their time. Are your customers spending most of their free time on social media? Are you more likely to find them doing sports or watching sporting matches? Or are they more likely to be at a business event?

Knowing where your customers spend their time helps you determine which communication – and marketing – channels to use. This knowledge helps you save money. The information about your Most Profitable Customers + your customer segmentation + the most effective channel = the best business results and the lowest expense.

Conclusion

A strategy to get more sales from existing customers are not just a way for a business to make more money. It should be one of the cornerstones of your business growth strategy.

Customer retention + more sales from existing customers by adding products and services that meet their needs = long lasting growth.

I help small & medium businesses generate higher profits so that they don't have to waste time chasing funders

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