Customers are the most likely future customers

Customers are the most likely future customers. There are many studies that show this to be true. They are cheaper to acquire than new customers, and this is partly because they are easier to influence. After all they are already in the habit of buying from you.

We came across an article by Karl Bryan the American trainer who covers this area. This is some of what he says on the subject ;

“….. many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers.  These are people you already know to be a good sales potential. They’ve already bought from you!”

So it is important to take the time to market and sell new products to your existing and lapsed customers. Spend less time trying to sell old products to new customers, and you will see improvements in sales, customer quality and brand position. Karl Bryan offers this useful list with some added notes from us to make sure you retain your current customers ;

1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, and in person. Keep them posted on what you are doing : new products and services etc.

2. Post-Purchase Relationship Building: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel  you have a genuine interest in them and their experiences with your product or service.  How many times do sales people lose interest the minute they get the order. Something as simple as a Thank
You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.

3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business and help them to get the best deals and advice. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option if their spend warrants it. It’s about making them feel special, valued. It all helps.

4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of half-hearted rubbish sales people. So the more they can trust you to do waht you say when you say you’ll do it, the more the relationship will build, and the more they will trust you.

There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:
. Quality product/service
. Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
. Offer subjects your customers find interesting

Use this approach of educating your customers and offer them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success. Don’t waste all your time on new prospects while your current customers become someone else’s new accounts.

As the well known motivational speaker Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and divert some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers.”

Good words Jay.

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Telesales training CDs – for free – well sort of

Telesales training CDs are available for free – well sort of.

The training company To Market runs training courses for telesales and telemarketing teams. We have on offer at Associated Learning Systems a range of telesales and telemarketing related training CDs as part of our audio training programme. These include our best selling line the 3 CDs on telephone selling. We also have a CD on benefits titled “sell the sizzle, not the bacon.” There will be other CDs added soon on upselling, cross selling and switch selling plus highly effective account management.  

You may be thinking the CDs are unlikely to be completely free – well here’s the deal. For every one of the Sales training CDs available on our site that you buy, you can have a complete refund of what you’ve spent against any in-house training you commission To Market to run for you before the 30th September 2009.

Our telesales training products and material here contain advice and tips on sales techniques, including how to open the sales call, identifying needs, spotting buying signals, questioning techniques, probing customer needs, and dealing with objections.

So have a browse around the site, press a few buttons and these CDs could be with you tomorrow, or maybe the next day. Payment is easy and secure through PayPal, you can make payment with your credit card.

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Where do I find new business ?

Ok, so finding new business is a subject we’re asked about a lot at the moment, and there are some practical steps you can take instantly that won’t cost much at all.

First you should make sure you keep the communication channels open with all your clients or customers (even those who are spending less.) You’re in this for the long-term and want to make sure you keep them as things pick-up. It is also really important that you understand how they’re doing, what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.

The next biggest block are those who have spent with you previously, but who are not active trading accounts. I am amazed at how little effort many companies put into ‘lapsed customers.’ They are all winable ! Well maybe not all, but many are ! You know something about them, and what they do – so milk this information to gain maximum advantage.

You may also need to have some internal brainstorming meetings with your team to tap into their ideas. Remember we’re all in this together, and they’ll value the opportunity to help out. You might need to look to promote ‘value’ products, or look for market sectors that are doing well at the moment. You may look to offer free taster sessions if you supply services, or some free ‘added value’ presentations if you sell products.  This may buy you some brownie points for when things pick up.

There are many, many ideas and the companies who will survive are those who adapt fastest and change their behaviour. 

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Know when to shut up when selling !

This story was given to me by Alan Agar who attended a recent telephone skills course with me in Manchester. The way he describes the key lesson is “knowing when to keep your mouth shut whilst in the process of making a sale.”   It is tempting to think that good telesales and effective sales techniques are all about talking – benefit selling. However good selling is as much about passive skills such as listening and keeping quiet. It was Mark Twain who famously said “better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”   Alan’s story is as follows ; “I enquired about the purchase of a new peugeot 206 glx. I was  advised of the colour and the extras I wanted such as spoiler, alloy wheels etc, etc. Then the sales guy quoted a price which sounded reasonable, however just as I was about to commit to the sale he said “We won’t be beaten on price, you can try another peugeot dealer if you like.” I took his kind advice and went to a different dealer who swiftly undercut him by £300, this in turn started a “price war” between the two dealers ! The end result was that the initial salesman talked himself out of a 12k sale, and saved me some £450 in the process !” Thanks to Alan Agar for that salutary tale.   All the key parts of effective selling and professional telephone sales behaviour are covered in our 3 pack CD set http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_detail.asp?ProdID=16 These 3 CDs cover identifying needs, how to open a sales call and dealing with different customer attitudes.

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