Hiding in plain sight - your best sales leads!
To my mind, the best business model to drive sales growth is a simple one:-
- deliver a really good product or service, with an absolute focus on delivering the best experience for your customer;
- make immediate sell-on to current customers where it's appropriate;
- where there's no immediate sell-on, keep coming back to the customer to nuture the relationship and remind them of what you can offer;
- seek referrals for the good work you've done;
- don't neglect the hunt for 'brand new' customers.
Attached is a chart showing a consultancy company's cumulative client acquisition over time. Repeat work / clients have enormous value to a firm in this sector, but consider also the total number of clients that have been acquired over time.
Those clients where great work has been done but there has been no sell-on work (the area between the two curves) represents a fantastic and growing opportunity (also demonstrates why great delivery is so important - they won't re-order if they didn't like what you did).
The combination of this 'maths' and the natural human instinct to go after new things (in this case clients), rather than nurture existing ones, means that often we miss out on business opportunities from past and existing clients... when in fact, we've already done the hard miles on developing the initial relationships and credibility with them.
Consider this - my firm once won the most prestigious firm in the automotive industry as a client. We won them within two weeks of making a routine call to an old contact during one of our 'Boiler Room' events. The contact had joined from a competitor where my colleague had delivered a small but important project some years earlier. The first point he made when we met him in his shiny Brussels office - he was frustrated he hadn't been able to find us.