Use these strategies to bulk-up your business with existing customers in 2017 and beyond.
Target the Right People:
Identify clients with potential for ample sales expansion. This includes fast-growing businesses and larger clients that do limited sales with you. Then, focus your attention on building sales with these customers before moving on to other clients. While you should always be looking for new leads, retention should also be one of your top priorities going forward. First retain, then grow. Don’t just settle for last year’s numbers.
Identify Needs & Add Value:
How well do you know your clients? Are you on top of their business objectives and what they require to achieve those goals? Even if you think you’re well-versed, you might not know quite as much as you think. It’s wise to direct discussions with clients beyond just promotional products and into in-depth conversations about their broader business aims, challenges and needs. In so doing, you might discover opportunities to provide them with additional products and services that make their lives easier, while helping them get closer to their goals.
Make Sure They Know What You Can Do:
Some clients – possibly many – may associate you with a limited number of products you’ve sold them. They don’t realize the breadth of your offerings and services. For example, they might be buying their sales team’s polo shirts and quarter-zip fleeces from you, while purchasing printed items, pens, mugs, mobile phone accessories and other hard goods from competitors. During consultative conversations with clients, share the full scope of your offerings. Of course, you’re going to have to create a compelling reason for clients to transfer the balance of their business to you. Talk with customers about what’s lacking in the service they get from your competitor, and demonstrate how you can deliver a superior experience.
Ask for Referrals Within the Organization:
So, you’re working with one buyer at a particular company. Are there more potential buyers? If so, ask your current client to refer you. Get your timing right. Wait until just after you’ve successfully completed an order. Then, while still top-of-mind, ask about a referral. Mind your phrasing – you don’t want to appear grasping. Rather, aim to sound like you’re eager to bring more value to the organization as a whole. This can include language that’s as simple as, “Who among your colleagues here might I also be able to help?”
Plot Out the Year:
Talk to top-target clients about events, campaigns and other upcoming initiatives they have in 2017. Knowing what’s coming up – and when – will alert you to opportunities and allow you to pitch ideas in advance, giving you an advantage over competitors.
Pitch Big Ideas:
When you thoroughly understand clients’ goals and audiences, you can do more than just reactively present products and branding concepts; you can proactively conceive and suggest broader, ROI-generating promotional campaigns and initiatives. The right idea could catch on with a client. It’s a sale you wouldn’t have had otherwise. What’s more, it could lead to a lucrative payday and greater loyalty from a client who appreciates your creative acumen.
Follow Clients on Social Media:
Keeping up with clients on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social platforms can tip you off to sales opportunities you may not have known about despite your best efforts to stay on top of client calendars. Customers may post about events, campaigns, fundraisers, sales, launches, expansions and other initiatives you can deliver branded merchandise for. On LinkedIn, connect with individual buyers and follow company pages. On Twitter, segment clients/companies you follow into specific lists. These can be grouped by anything from “top clients” to market niches you may serve. Lists will make it easier to review what’s happening in various client segments, and to spot new chances for sales.