With the declining economy tightening the purse strings of both consumers and businesses, it's never been more essential to get as much business as much as you can from the customers who are already spending on your products and services.
This strategy of focusing on selling extra to your customers is also key to growth and can be more effective than trying to attract new customers by shelling out on an expensive marketing campaign.
So here are our top tips to help you continue to grow by increasing sales with your loyal customers.
If you offer your customers incredible deals from the start, they'll continue to buy from you. One example of a company doing this is US business Zane's Cycles. They promote loyalty to their brand by offering parents a great deal on bikes for their children. Chris Zane credits the full cost of last year's bicycle towards an upgrade every year up to a 20-inch wheel. It may mean they won't make a profit until the customer buys the second bike at full price, but it means parents will buy accessories from the store for their children and the strategy could also bring in customers who may buy other bikes too. Some customers may be so impressed by the service that they become customers for life.
When a customer is already in your shop or on your website, you can encourage them to buy something extra or upgrade. The most obvious example of a business doing this is fast-food outlets such as McDonalds. When you order your meal at the counter the cashier will offer you a large version of that meal for an extra 60p. A website also provides a great environment to encourage an upsell. Travel sites do this perfectly; just look at easyJet. when you book a flight through on their site you'll get the option to add on accommodation, insurance and car hire. These are extras that you'll probably need now you've booked a flight but not what you originally went to easyJet for.
You want your customers to think of you rather than one of your rivals when it comes to buying the product you're selling, so you need to make sure you're on their radar. You can do this by emailing occasional newsletters to let customers know what you're up to or if you have their details, send them a card on their birthday and at Christmas. The key is to sell subtly though - if you harass customers, it may backfire and leave them disgruntled.
If you can engage with your customers when they're buying from you or via social media channels such as Twitter, you can get to know what they like and offer them products that suit their needs. Hairdressers do this regularly. Charlotte Murray, founder of the Charlotte Murray salon, says personal recommendation is flattery. "It means you are selling the right product to the right person." Her tip is to never assume people don't want to spend. "They will tell you if that is so. Just saying the words, 'Oh, I thought of you when we ordered this product - I knew you would love it' and meaning it, can go a long way," she says. But she also warns that you should never assume what a customer wants. "You have to know first, and the only way you do this is by engaging with the customer".
For a full guide on upselling and cross-selling, click here.
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