I recently came across this online commentary by Richard Buckingham:
“An industry leader called and asked me to develop a customer relationship management (CRM) programme. They sensed they were leaving money on the table. Their instincts were right. In researching their top five clients, we found something very interesting. While their firm did $30 million in revenues, their top five clients sent $41 million to their competitors. That’s $41 million that they left on the table. In talking to the top two clients, one client freely said, ‘If your client improves their service, we will increase their business exponentially.’”
Now don’t go off dreaming like I did about making $30 million in revenues and miss the point .
If the above numbers capture your attention you may recognise the potential for your business. Whenever a business owner wants to increase business he always looks to new business.
He somehow feels that he is already getting all the business that he can get from the customers already on the books. However, what if there was more business to get and what if getting more business was dependent on you improving your overall relationship with and service to your customers?
And if this has not occurred to you before – why not? Is your ego so supersized that you feel that you are getting all the business you can from your customers or are you just too content to go after any more from them? Harsh words, I know, but perhaps just the words you need to spur you into action!
I think chasing after new business makes us feel more involved. We love the challenge. We want to feel as if we’re doing something. We want to be active. But contemplate this for a bit: Do you really want to be active or take intentional action?
One of the best known and most provocative spiritual teachers of the 20th century, Osho, says: “Activity comes out of a restless mind, loaded with the past. It is not a response to the present moment; rather it is a pouring of your restlessness which you have been carrying from the past, into the present.”
So the first thing you need to do is stop. Take a time out. Stop worrying yourself about getting new business and look at the customers you do have. Whether you are a solo professional or have employees – you need to give yourself a day or more to consider the following. Retreat – it’s a must.
First – create a cone of silence. Henrik Edberg of the Power of Positivity Blog shares the following tips: Unplug your internet cable. If you don’t, it may be tempting to just take a short breather online. Perhaps check your email or your Facebook. Or to chat for a few minutes with some friends via IM. This breather usually expands and before you know it your five minute break has become a 35 minute procrastination-session.
Unplug the phone. If you have the possibility, consider unplugging or shutting off the phone for a while. Talking, texting and e-mailing can become big distractions and time-thieves.
Shut the door. Get away from the voices and noises outside your room. Try to keep it as silent as possible to be able to focus on the questions at hand.
Your second step once quiet is to determine how you are going to find out what a client spends a year in your category. They may also spend money in one category but not in any others you provide.
Next find a way to better understand your client’s complete needs. What are their goals? What are they trying to accomplish? How do you fit into their overall plan?
One-time customers become long-term clients when you better understand their complete needs. And finally determine the roadblocks that might be in your way. What in particular prevents your client from giving you additional business? Design a plan to ask all your clients this question directly.
After all, you don’t experience your service, your client does. You need to understand their experience. It’s not what we think about our service that matters: it’s how our clients experience our service that does!
When you increase your business with existing clients, you significantly increase your profitability because you’ve already paid the cost to obtain the client. The added money from sales goes right to the bottom line. If you still don’t believe why don’t you call one client today and ask the above questions and apply the strategies.
Then let me know how much you left on the table. Well you don’t have to, but at least find out for yourself. You may be surprised by the results!