10 Strategies to Maximize Sales From Existing Customers With Annual Reviews
We’re now a full two months into 2021, but one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions I hear at American Solutions for Business centers around growing business with new and existing clients. We all know that gaining new clients takes a lot of time and energy, so why not put that same amount of energy into maximizing sales with existing clients?
Here are 10 strategies to consider:
1. Ask for an Appointment
It’s easy to get the appointment! You already have the customer, and you simply want to meet to discuss what transpired over the past six to 12 months and share ideas to help them achieve their goals and make their lives easier.
2. Show Gratitude
Once you have the review scheduled either in-person or virtually, you have the perfect opportunity to say “thank you.” Sincere words of thanks are so important, as well as a gift or meal if you are able. If in-person is an option, taking your client out to lunch or bringing in treats is always well-received. If virtual, sending a personalized gift prior to the meeting will put clients in a good mood right from the start.
3. Do Your Homework
Make sure to prepare an agenda along with supporting materials to help structure the meeting. You will want to provide valuable insight while making excellent use of your customer’s time so that they look forward to meeting with you. As you prepare your materials, make sure to provide many opportunities for your customer to share their feedback. You will learn more by listening than talking.
4. Share Activity and Trends
During the review, it will be important to go over sales activity and purchasing trends. The more graphical the better, so that your contacts can visually see what’s hot and what’s not. Be prepared to cover hot sellers, items that may no longer be needed and new items to add to the mix. High-demand items that require a fast turnaround may need to be brought into inventory, while other items could be offered on-demand to make it easier to swap products in and out based on purchasing trends.
5. Be Transparent
Make sure to be open and honest about what went well over the year, as well as areas for improvement. In this industry, it’s tough to have 100% accuracy. Throw in the curveball of 2020 and it’s even less realistic. There is a good chance that a job or two did not go exactly as planned. Being transparent about what you did to help rectify the situation will hold a lot a weight with your customer and show them that you go above and beyond for them even when they don’t realize it.
6. Give a Makeover
The next step to a successful review is making suggestions for improvement as we move into 2021. Is your customer ordering online from you today? If not, talk about how you can implement a branded e-commerce site for them to easily order the products you supply. If it seems too daunting, discuss a phased approach where you include one or two product categories with a controlled number of users and expand from there. Are they already online? If so, this is a great time to provide suggestions to give the site a face-lift with updated imagery, icons and product categories. Online stores look great at go-live, but can become outdated and stale as time goes on.
Customer reviews provide a wonderful opportunity to cross-sell into new product categories that your customer could be buying from you. If you are selling strictly promo today, remind them that you can help in many other areas (print, packaging, labels, office products, signage, PPE, etc.). You never want to hear your customer say “I didn’t realize you could do that” as they just signed a three-year contract with your competitor.
8. Check the Calendar
Next, discuss upcoming events (live or virtual), customer outreach programs and employee engagement initiatives. Find out what their goals and pain points are, and discuss areas where you can help. Also, stay close to their website, newsletters and social media posts so that you are in the know on what is important to them, events they hold regularly, etc. That way you can start sharing ideas well in advance, which will save them time and money in the long run. The more value you can provide, the more quickly they will view you as an extension of their team.
9. Ask for a Referral
As the meeting wraps up, this is another great time to show gratitude by thanking them for their business and for their continued partnership. This is also the perfect opportunity to ask if there is anyone else in their network who could benefit from your services. (Yes—ask for a referral!)
10. Follow Up
You did it—you made it through the customer review! Not only did you remind the customer what you did for them lately, you left the meeting with new ideas to evolve the relationship. Now all you have to do is follow up on all the great ideas that bubbled up during the review to show that you have excellent follow-through and execution. Also, don’t forget to mark your calendar for next year’s review so that it becomes something you do every year.
Amy Spychalla is vice president of strategic operations support at American Solutions for Business. Amy and her team assist sales associates and customers on program opportunities from discovery and presentation to implementation, launch and review. Amy has been with American since 2003 and has over 30 years of marketing and project management experience.