Sales principle 1-3> 7: kiss your customers awake


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It makes much more sense to maintain existing customers instead of winning new ones. But why do many Company the contrary? Is that really that hard?

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Here writes for you:

Dirk Kreuter's Profile dirk-kreuterDirk Kreuter is one of the most influential thinkers on sales, sales and acquisition.

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Why pure actionism brings nothing

“Our strategy is to win new customers. Attack! ”, Many write Company on the flag. And even those who are no longer a start-up but have been in the business for a long time. But this strategy is fundamentally wrong.

In such cases, companies send their sales staff on cold acquisition training: telephone, trade fair acquisition, unannounced visits. The sellers who win the most new customers are the most respected.

Well, if there is so much optimism and determination. But in the long term, the strategy of growing only through new customers can become very exhausting.

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Massively winning customers brings nothing

And most of all: massively recruiting new customers is only of use if they are subsequently maintained. Otherwise they soon jump off again or become C customers.

The previous customers feel neglected and gradually slip away. In any case they do not sell their sales with this company.

Exploit the potential of existing customers

Often, I have seen companies put on new customers before they have exhausted the potential of their existing customers.

And there is the hook. Attracting new customers is not wrong in itself. But there are other activities where you can use your time more sensibly.

Low effort, high effect

The most successful sellers are usually those who achieve the highest effect with the least effort.

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A Swiss officer once told me of a rather striking example: All soldiers in Switzerland are classified internally according to a simple scheme: Are they stupid or wise? Lazy or diligent?

  • Who is stupid and lazy, becomes an easy team. In case of war, these people are sent to the front as cannon fodder.
  • Anyone who is stupid and hard-working should secure supplies in case of war. He tirelessly drives the truck to wherever they are told and does not ask if the route makes sense.
  • Whoever is cunning and hardworking, will be unofficial.
  • But whoever is cunning and lazy, becomes an officer. These people are thinking about how to use their resources.

Time to invest wisely

Clearly diligence is necessary for a seller. But intelligently used, so to speak rationalized diligence. A higher form of laziness, then.

And that means: before you think carefully, where it is worth to invest work and time, and where not. Set priorities.

The meaningful priority order is:

  1. Exploit the potential of existing customers
  2. Rebound customers recovered
  3. Enable snooze
  4. Winning new customers

It costs much less effort to exploit the potential of existing customers than to attract new customers. At least the same effect.

In 20 years of professional experience, I have analyzed the data of the literature on the relationship between expenditure and income and summarized it into a formula.

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The 1-3> 7 principle

It applies to every industry and company form, except for start-ups that do not have a permanent customer base. But in all other situations, you can expect:

  • To fully exploit the potential of existing customers costs simple effort.
  • Leaping back customers is the triple cost of this effort.
  • Buying new customers costs at least seven times as much effort as the potential of the regular customers.

This is my 1-3> 7 formula. That's the theory.

Can it be a bit more?

For the B2 and A customers it is easy. You already know that they still have a lot of potential. You just have to figure out how you lift it.

So make a plan that should answer the following questions:

  • What are the needs of the customer that I can meet?
  • Which products are useful for him?
  • What service does it need?
  • What problem can I solve for him?
  • What advantages can I offer him?

What are the advantages of your customer?

The advantages do not always have to be in the product. It can also be that you make the order as simple and efficient as possible and thus optimize the time that the customer needs for the procurement.

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This will lower your procurement costs indirectly - and are cheaper for you, even if your competition offers the same product at a cheaper price, but you have to telephonize it seventeen times because something has always worked out of the order.

Ask your customers

You can do this on your own. You can also arrange an appointment with the customer and tell him:

“Our business relationship is important to me, I want to strengthen it. So please tell me: What can I do for you, how can I optimally adapt my offer to your needs? Where do you come from, where do you want to go, what is important to you, what are you worried about? ”

When is the effort worthwhile?

Such a basic conversation is an important basis for fully exploiting the potential of your best customers in the coming years. So it is well spent time.

And with which customers is this effort worthwhile? Sure: those with potential. So the A and B customers. I hope you have done the classification correctly! Hopefully you will not be mistaken: all customers who buy little are C customers.

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A question of need

This observation is true only sometimes. Namely, if the customer really has only a small need.

However, there are enough customers who actually have a greater need than the one they cover with your offer. They only shop predominantly elsewhere. They only refer to certain products. Or only if you have a special offer. Or, or, or ...

Kiss your customers

Such customers look like C customers, but in reality are slumber customers. You just have to kiss them - with the right offer. Then they have the potential to become a gigantic B2 customer.

If you have exhausted the potential of existing customers, turn to former customers who have jumped for some reason.

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