Most Valuable Asset – Your (Happy) Customer Base
When you try to sell something to people who have never heard of you or purchased from you, it’s a real crap shoot. To put it another way… you almost always lose money prospecting. Incredibly, the same thing is true in direct sales. That’s because if you prorate your direct sales and marketing budget against old and new customers, you’ll find that…
- Most advertising and promotion investments are aimed at new, not old, customers.
- Sales people spend most of their time with new prospects.
Therefore, there is much more cost associated with selling to a new prospect vs. selling to an old customer. As a result, you tend to lose money on each new account and make it all back on repeat business. Thus, winning a new account order must become the beginning, not the end, of the business relationship. To avoid disappointing your new customer…
As the sale nears a climax, start selling less and negotiating more.
Overselling is usually worse than not making a sale at all; i.e., make promises you can’t keep and you will soon regret it. Learn when to stop selling and start negotiating.
Once your salespeople sense they are going to get the order, have them give everyone a chance to win – the salesperson, the company, and the customer. Plan on giving your customers more than they expect. Your salespeople should walk away with an order that…
- Your company feels good about. An order with decent margin and reasonable delivery/service requirements. This enables your firm to handle any unforeseen difficulties or even over perform when it comes time to deliver the goods.
- Your customers feels good about. And, soon the customers should feel even better because they are going to actually get more than was promised or expected. One smart thing to do here is offer your customer a discount on their next order.
Do this right and you’ll get more than just an order. You’ll create a perpetual customer. One who buys repeatedly and one who enthusiastically recommends you to other buyers.
Repeat business is the most predictable and reliable way to keep the cash wheel spinning. So whether you use the Internet, mail order, direct sales people, or just about any other sales channel, your business’s most valuable asset is its customer base.