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New customers… do I need them?

Cashflow is the lifeblood of a business. And in order to have cashflow, you need clients. But where are they? You might be looking too hard for the Next Big Contract or, more specifically, new customers.

Chances are, you already know the concept of fishing on the other side of the boat. Look in a different marketplace and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to attract new customers. Expanding your horizons is always a great way to seal deals, find new customers, and grow your business. At least, that’s what the established wisdom says.

We think it’s wrong.

While you’re so busy fishing on the other side of the boat, casting the net wider, and all manner of other aquatic metaphors – in short, while you’re looking for new customers, what’s happening to all the customers you already have?

You don’t need new customers all the time – you need to make the most of the ones who are already there. Yes, it’s a controversial statement, but it’s true nonetheless. Think about it for a moment. So many business owners are so consumed with chasing the thrill of the new, that they forget the value of their existing customers, and neglect all the opportunities that an established client base offers.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, what you offer, and where you are in the cycle of trading with your customers; it’s essential that you review your customer lists and apply some basic rules to maximise what’s already there. The continual cycle of having to “fill the customer funnel” – networking, negotiating, clinching deals, all the associated administration – is a time-consuming one. The relationships you have with your existing buyers often require less maintenance but can be so much more rewarding than spending time on finding new customers… who might not even become customers at all.

It’s time to review your client list and check your sales records. When did your regular customers last buy from you? It’s important to put systems in place, to monitor regular sales and address any changes. Do you have a product or service which used to be a popular regular seller, but hasn’t been bringing in as much income lately? By keeping track of your sales and purchasers, you can monitor trends and ensure they continue along the path you expect.

Don’t misunderstand us – we’re not saying that finding new customers isn’t important to any self-respecting business. But existing clients often represent a far more viable market for your products and services; after all, if someone’s bought from you before, they already know how wonderful your products are!

A few key points to bear in mind…

Increase the number of times your customers buy from you
Increase the value of every sale – ensure that new customers and existing ones alike are worth your time
Are you making the most of every window of opportunity? If someone likes one of your products, they might like others… you won’t know if you don’t ask them!

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