Is your mental image of the sales funnel one that is overflowing with new accounts? It’s nice to imagine that all of the business you’ll close this year will be new. It’s more profitable to manage your existing accounts and convince them to expand their life cycle with you.
In his post on Selling Power, Jeff Seeley asks sales reps to think about how focusing on existing customers translates into success. He reminds readers that the “success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60–70%, while the success rate of selling to a prospect is 5–20 percent.” The return on the time you spend with existing customers is likely to be much higher than the hours you spend chasing after prospects.
But how do you go about optimizing the management of your existing accounts? Seeley has a few suggestions.
It’s a no-brainer that you need to maintain an outstanding customer service relationship with your existing accounts. But to truly manage an account to a higher rate of sales, you need to engage your curiosity. Touch base to find out how the new fleet of vehicles that you sold them, for example, is working out. If they weren’t able to afford your add-on fleet management system at the time of the original sale, maybe they’re now in a position to buy. After a few months or years or working with you and your company, they know what to expect. They’ll be more likely to buy a solution from you than from a company they’ve never done business with.
As the years go by, employees change jobs and leave companies. Have you been paying attention to employee shifts at your key accounts? If an employee who’s been the biggest supporter of the product you’ve been selling to a company suddenly moves on, where does that leave you?
Be proactive about building your network at client sites. Stay in touch with your big supporters. When you sense a big change is on the horizon, ask them to put you in contact with other key decision makers. And always look for a chance to build a relationship with other people in the organization. These relationships can become of source of additional revenue for you.
As you look ahead to next month’s or next quarter’s goals, revisit your existing accounts. Start working building your relationships and networks today, so they’ll bear fruit tomorrow.