Hevea Engineers
Hevea Engineers
Industry Information
RETAINING CUSTOMERS Created : 03-11-2015

Sometimes focusing on new business can be a mistake
We all know that winning new customers is hard these days. The cost of just getting a first appointment can be high. And that’s no guarantee of turning that appointment into business.
 
In all the desperate focus on new business, sometimes we ignore other routes to increasing our revenues. These routes can involve much less work.
 
That’s why printing companies should consider winning new work from existing customers
Printing companies that use this strategy often have a much quicker route to creating a powerful sales pipeline. They will find it easier to achieve their sales goals.
 
Printing companies that ignore their current customers will have the much harder task of trying to achieve their sales targets from new business. They will find it harder to control their sales pipeline. The focus on new business could also be damaging existing client relationships.
 
Here are three ways in which you can build business from your current customers.

Make sure your customers know what you sell
You may be surprised at how little your customers know about the range of services that you provide. I talked to several printing companies recently who admitted this. They had found out that many of their clients were placing some printing work elsewhere. The printing companies could produce this work. But the clients did not realise this.
 
It is always worth scheduling regular update calls or meetings with your clients. These are an opportunity to talk about new services and remind customers of other products you can produce.
 
But this isn’t the only way to increase revenues from your current customers.


Upsell your customers
Typically when I request a price from a printing company they just respond to my specification. They don’t make any suggestions themselves.
 
Let’s remember that most buyers these days don’t know an awful lot about print. They may not be specifying the best solution for what thy need. These days print sales people have some great opportunities to upsell. What else should the customer be doing to get even better results? What could they be doing to cut costs? Upsells can typically be sold at higher profit margins so these can be a very useful way of increasing business.
 
But your current customers are also a route to brand new clients.

Ask your customers for referrals
Many people buy on trusted recommendation. I was looking for some website building assistance recently. I asked people that I knew for a recommended supplier. It was much easier than going through a full supplier evaluation process.

Satisfied customers are happy to recommend good suppliers. It’s just that sometimes they need to be reminded to do this. Every print sales person should make it a goal to ask for referrals every week.
 
Here’s an example of how one printer won new business from their current customers
I advised one mentoring client of mine to start asking for referrals from their current clients. They immediately saw that one of their clients, a small automotive business, could introduce them to similar businesses. They have now tasked one of their team with following this up and have already won two new clients this way.
 
As they were telling their existing customers why they wanted to be introduced to these new businesses, another thing became clear. The current client didn’t realise everything that the printer could do for them. So now there is a programme to ensure all existing clients know about all the services on offer.
 
This printing company is expanding its turnover very nicely through existing customers.
 
So should printers give up on new sales altogether?
Not at all. Remember that inevitably some of your current clients will go out of business or move on. New customers are still an essential part of the sales mix. But if these three strategies are applied then new sales can become a slightly smaller part of the mix.