All of our sales training partners in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria are focused on the last four months of the calendar year. For many companies, this marks the end of their fiscal and a large part of the 2017 sales target. While new business development tends to be the first thing most Salespeople concentrate on, it shouldn’t be at the sacrifice of upselling and increasing the investment from your current customer base. Here’s why.
How many times have you heard one of your customers say this?
“I didn’t know you carried that product line. I wasn’t aware you could provide that service.”
The vast majority of your current client base may not aware of all the products and services you provide. Often, we concentrate on fulfilling specific needs of our decision makers and we seldom realize the full scope of selling opportunities. Good Salespeople know not to constantly push the full range of their products on customers. Great Salespeople realize the importance of doing a Customer Needs Analysis every three months to stay in touch with their clients’ changing needs.
It’s an eye-opening experience when you ask one of your top buyers some high-trust detailed questions that show you the scope of their full purchasing needs. Here are some great ones.
“What share of purchasing does our company receive from 100% of your budget?”
“Who gets the biggest portion and why?”
“What do they do better than us?”
If you think that these questions are too risky and make you look greedy, know that the top Salespeople in each business category have frank and open conversations with their clients. They ask their clients to tell them what they need to hear, not want to hear.
Many years ago, I asked my third highest billing client what their entire product budget was for my area. Two suppliers were getting far more investment than me and I had the longest-standing relationship. While I was a great prospector and loved the thrill of new business, I received a great lesson in unrealized opportunities with an existing client that day. Shame on me for being too timid to ask the tough questions.
Increase Sales Per Customer With Established Buying Relationships
This one is easy to understand. Current customers already know and trust you. On average, it’s four to five times easier to secure an investment from an established decision maker than a new one. That’s doesn’t mean you should abandon prospecting for new clients. The job of top-performing Salespeople is to get their unfair share of purchasing from the clients they are closest with.
Promote consolidation of vendors to save your buyers’ time and money
This requires that you get inside the world of your buyer’s company. It’s a known fact that accounting departments can measure the cost of processing each invoice based on time, salary and expenses. Cost-cutting measures usually require that all opportunities are considered to save money. Fewer vendors means less invoicing and manpower to do the job.
Your decision maker is most likely managing many different responsibilities and saving time is always is or her priority. Seeing fewer Salespeople to determine which ones are worthy of a relationship is a welcome relief for them, as long as you’re on the short list. Ask your Sales Manager for special incentives for your clients to consolidate vendors. Investing more with a smaller list of suppliers does improve the bargaining power of the buyer in a language that management on both sides like to speak.
Work with fewer clients to save time and leverage your creativity
Every good Salesperson sees a consistent increase in their yearly target. The better the Salesperson, the greater the increase. When I was Salesperson I remember getting a 30% increase in my target when my Sales Manager informed me in our late afternoon meeting. Afterwards I was quite emotional and ended up leaving a voicemail message for him when he didn’t answer the phone. The man knew me very well. I then realized that he budgeted me that high because he had the confidence to assign more sales to me than other Salespeople. Smart Sales Managers take painstaking care in assigning the right target per Salesperson. He taught me that when I became a Sales Manager.
Working with fewer clients gives you the time to leverage your skills with the right clients capable of sizable increases in their yearly spend. That’s because of your ability to fulfill a need with the decision maker that other suppliers aren’t.
You simply can’t treat every client with the same level of service if you wish to increase your personal sales dramatically. Your best service has to be reserved for the highest paying customers. I often have a great debate with Salespeople over this philosophy. While you might build a great account base by over-servicing customers, you can’t continue to do this indefinitely if you want to reach record years.
Great sales years require record billing clients
Every time I have been privileged to witness a Salesperson experience a record sales year, there is one common element. They’ve had several record billing clients in that year. These are the decision makers that bellied up to the bar and blew past last year’s investment. There’s another common ingredient. The Salesperson created the environment for the client to justify doing this. Every buyer was convinced and excited about spending that amount of money for tangible reasons – either saving time, saving total budget dollars or making money. The Salesperson had a strategy and applied it successfully.
Please don’t misinterpret my message
While the vast majority of your sales growth can come from your existing client base, experienced Salespeople know that prospecting and new business development is the lifeblood of account development. New clients replace attrition and provide the seeding ground for consistent key accounts.
Do you agree? I’d love to hear your opinion. Please use the comment area below. If you liked this post, use the share buttons for your favorite social media platform.
If you are interested in learning new sales techniques, please feel free to check out our online program The Sales Skills Incubator or our book SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money. If you’re a Sales Manager wanting to invest in your team, contact us for fully customized training and coaching.
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY