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Sell More Stuff – It’s Important


In our last newsletter, I referred to an excellent booklet called “Selling in a Down Economy” by Robert Miller of Miller Heiman, as US Sales performance consultancy with a strong pedigree. If you missed it, the article is at

This month, I’d like to dig deeper into the sales activity I touched on and that Robert discussed in his article and I’ll give some specific guidance on things you should be doing.

The article was wide-ranging and covered many areas. I will discuss just two:

•  Going back to your old customers and winning them back and
•  Selling more to each of them.

Robert’s article quoted some statistics, admittedly unsupported by evidence but compelling and believable nevertheless. The odds of:

•  Selling an established product to a current customer: 1 in 2
•  Selling a new product to a current customer: 1 in 4
•  Selling an established product to a new customer: 1 in 8
•  Selling a new product to a new customer: 1 in 24
Essentially, what these odds tell us is that it is hardest to find a new customer and sell them something new and easiest to sell an old or existing customer something old.

An important part of any sale is that the customer must decide that he knows and trusts the person (or business) selling before he (or she) makes a buying decision.

If they’ve bought from you before – they’ve already decided that they know or trust you!

You’re halfway there – it’s easier to remind them that they once liked you or your business than it is to start from scratch with someone entirely new.

(If your business does not make repeat sales but tends only to sell to someone once, I’m sorry – this exercise won’t help you much. Ask yourself this, though – is there anything else you can do to be useful to the people who bought from you in the past? If there is, go and ask them all if it would be helpful to them and you have a whole new revenue opportunity. )

Operation Win Them Back

1. Go through your records and extract all your old customers’ details. (Please tell me you have them! If you don’t have a CRM database, they ought to be in MYOB. If you don’t have them, start collecting them.)

2. Decide how your business will contact these people to ask if they would like to become customers again – will you have your sales team call them, write to them, email them or what – but make your business do the asking!

3. Decide what you will do to tempt them back – you’d be surprised, most of them aren’t buying from you because they haven’t been asked. Do you need to make them a special offer or is it enough to re-establish contact and start that relationship happening again?

4. Plan it – write the offer, if there is one, script the call or construct the communication piece; work out how many to contact each day or week – it will depend on the resources you have available and how much other work there is.

(Please don’t be afraid that there will be a massive influx of enquiries that you won’t be able to handle. This never happens. If only it did!)

5. Measure it – see how many of your old customers came back to you. If some of them did, do it again, either with the same offer or with another approach. Seriously, most of them didn’t notice your first contact anyway.

Remember, don’t be afraid of upsetting them or turning them off – use an appropriate contact medium that won’t do this but don’t be shy either – you are in business and it is legitimate to ask your old customers if they’d l