In planning their sales strategies, small business owners need to maintain a balance between sales to new clients and sales to existing clients. Too much emphasis on one of these groups leaves their company effectively under-performing. It’s not that easy to achieve the right balance and for some small businesses it is impossible.
Small businesses with the biggest handicap are those who offer just a single product/service which operates without upgrades or revisions until it is replaced. Every sale for this type of business is, by definition, to a new client. The same scenario would apply to any small business who is struggling to meet the expectations of its current clients. These clients will be reluctant to buy more until they had been reassured the situation would improve.
Winning new clients is a tough challenge for most small businesses. There is plenty of competition, considerable price pressure and decision making timescales that seem longer than ever. What’s more, your prospect is currently being supplied by one of your competitors. Inevitably, persuading them to ditch their current supplier and switch their allegiance to you will be a slow process.
If you have a range of products and some satisfied clients, then you have scope to sell other products from your range to each of these clients. These client sales are likely to be easier and cheaper to achieve compared with selling the same volume of sales to new clients. They are likely to be more profitable because of the lower selling costs.
It might seem logical to focus solely on these easier sales to clients and not worry about selling to win new clients. This strategy, of course, is not sustainable. Your existing clients will eventually have bought all your relevant products/services and there is nothing left for you to sell them.
However hard it is, small businesses need to win new clients regularly as these should subsequently be willing to buy your other products/services. It’s important to ensure you always have opportunities to sell your whole range of products/services by regularly winning new clients.
- If you only sell a single product/service, start immediately to look for other complementary products to build your overall product portfolio. Consider setting up partner or reseller agreements with other vendors until you can develop your own product/service range.
- Make sure all your clients are aware of your full range of products/services and search out sales openings for all of them.
- Maintain your lead generation and selling activities to bring in a steady stream of new clients.