The most productive and economical strategy for boosting sales is to increase your transactions with your current customers. Most likely, you built relationships with your customers by producing value from one product or service. They define their relationship with you through the lens of that one offering and aren’t thinking about how else you might help them be successful.
There are 3 basics for using the strategy of cross-selling to expand your relationship with your customers.
1. Are you trusted?
Customers prefer to work with trusted partners. It’s time-consuming, risky and potentially more expensive to change suppliers. Are your customers satisfied with your work? Are you producing more value for their investment than what they expected? Do they trust that you are more interested in helping them make money than you are in taking their money?
There is no way to expand your relationship unless your customer trusts you.
2. How do you know you are trusted?
Enduring relationships are built when you partner with your customer to achieve their goals. Increasing transactions that address only their short term needs may relieve their pain a bit, but this approach does nothing to enhance their perspective of you as a supplier. To open their eyes, to actually be perceived as a trusted partner, your transactions with them must be seen as investments towards achievement of their goals rather than as expenditures that must be managed and optimized.
If you do not know a customer’s goals, are unsure about how your current offering is producing quantifiable value that helps them succeed, and cannot specify how an additional offering will increase the value you produce for them, then how can you be sure that they trust you? Perhaps it’s more convenient at this time not to replace you. If they do not trust you, why should they listen when you when you propose something new?
3. How can you help them succeed?
Once you understand how your current offering helps your customer make money and how they will measure their success as they progress, you can identify specific ways to accelerate their momentum. You want to do more than contribute to their progress – partners hasten the achievement of their goals. Time is money. Increasing their transactions…expanding their productivity…speeding their time to market…reducing their quality costs…reducing their inventory requirements…these are quantifiable benefits that help customers succeed faster.
Before you propose another offering to a customer, first determine how it will increase the value you produce for them. They don’t care about your product or service – they care only about the value it produces for them. So speak with them in the language that will compel their attention.
When was the last time you asked your customers about their goals and direction?
Can you specify why your additional offering will accelerate your customer’s success?