Clearly one of the most challenging elements of sales is getting in front of qualified leads. A great salesperson with terrific selling skills won’t succeed without a steady diet of qualified prospects with whom to speak. One of the most often overlooked lead generation opportunities is your existing customers, and this article is about how to systematically identify qualified leads from your current customer base.
It is well known that selling to an existing customer is 6 to 7 times less expensive and time consuming than acquiring new customers. After all, they know you, trust you (hopefully) and you already have a track-record of good performance. You know their business and they know yours. No blind-dating here – you’re in a position to get serious.
One of the best ways to identify sales opportunities with existing customers is to create an Opportunity Chart. An Opportunity Chart is simply a matrix of existing customers, what they have purchased from you and what opportunities exist to sell them additional products and services. Here’s an example of an Opportunity Chart in which the products/services are simply listed in order…
Here’s an example of an Opportunity Chart in which the products/services are listed by the amount of profit margin and the value in each product/service…
Looking at sales opportunities to existing customers by profit margin and value enables you to fine-tune your presentation and selling approach. In the above example you see that Customers 5 and 8 have only purchased the “Loss Leader” product. Since each of these products build value from the previous product, you can present the higher margin, more valued products as the next logical step in the progression of the relationship with that customer.
Here’s a more specific example of sales opportunity by margin/value. In our sales assessment and training business we usually begin with sales compatibility assessments of individuals. This is a low cost, relatively low margin product – our “loss leader” so to speak – and establishes a basis for how individuals can improve their sales success. The next natural product/service in which an individual can improve is participation in our Top 10 Selling Skills seminar. This generates more gross margin dollars. After that, the individual and/or company participates in our 2-day Sales & Marketing Best Practices workshop, which generates higher gross profits. It is simply a natural progression of products and services.
In summary, before you go trekking off to find new sales prospects, look first in your own “backyard” and create your Sales Opportunity Chart of your existing customers. It will be easier to approach them since you already have a good relationship and trust, and you’ll seize opportunities to add greater value to them and generate more sales for you.