Why do most businesses fail? Not wanting to dwell on the negative but business failures occur when they don’t make enough sales. Or, put another way, they are not attracting and keeping enough qualified customers.

Having a robust sales process allows you to effectively and efficiently attract and convert the customers that will bring in most revenue. It can often take some time and effort to convert a lead or prospect into a paying client. Essentially it is a journey from the potential client showing interest to trusting you sufficiently to purchase. After this time and energy is expended and the client trusts you what happens next?

The answer, for many businesses, is nothing. Depending on who you listen to it can be between 5 and 10 times more expensive to gain a new customer than it would be to sell to an existing one. This makes perfect sense when you consider that to get that client in the first place meant you had get over the “trust barrier”. Your existing clients are already there and so would be much more likely to purchase additional or extended services and products. And yet in the vast majority of businesses there is no strategy for communicating with and nurturing existing clients.

As in the initial sales phase they key here is to communicate regularly by supplying useful information whilst offering extra services or encouraging the client to refer you to a new potential customer. Consider some of the following:


How many of your clients or customers would be interested in a Premium service or product. By structuring your offering, you are able to exploit the fact that many customers would want you to do or supply more to them. Consider structuring your offerings; a value/free offering, a medium more extensive and costlier service and a premium exclusive product. An analogy is the Tesco model; Tesco Value, own brand and Finest. Focus on bringing in the client at the lower service level; this is less of a risk for the client and allows you to build trust and demonstrate value. You can then continue a series of sales communications that draws them to the next level.

Cross sell

“Do you want fries with that?” is the absolute classic cross sell by a famous fast food restaurant and accounts for a significant amount of their revenue (18% by some estimates). We can be subtler in doing the same thing but again this a matter of keeping in contact and treating customers as if they were still in the sales funnel. You could also consider allowing a complimentary, non-competing business to contact your customers. In return you would get access to their client lists.

If you think of the sales process as a journey from lead to valued customer or from an expression of interest to you solving their most pressing problem, well this is just a continuation of the journey. You need to ensure that you build on this hard won trust to gain as much value as possible from the relationship and also provide maximum value to your customers.

Any further information on this or other aspects of Business Development follow this link which takes you to the Free Preview of the LEFf Online Business Success Programme.