Do you spend more time courting new prospects or adding more value to existing clients?

One thing I’ve noticed about most businesses is during their first five years the only thing that grows more than their sales is their line card*. It makes natural sense. You do good work for a client and they like both you and the work you did. They ask you if you can handle their next project. Even though it’s outside of your sweet spot, you need the money so of course you say yes. It happens over and over and again. You become an expert in starting new lines of offerings. Sadly most of these are one-offs and the only way the majority of your clients would learn about them is on your “about us” page on your website.

What’s interesting is that if you have a minimum of even a one person sales force, your prospects are hearing about all you offer. Many salespeople are great at telling prospects ALL about your business and your offerings. Great salespeople learn about the prospect’s challenges and do problem solving based on your company’s offerings. Either way, your prospects are learning about this fancy line card you’ve developed.

What about those existing clients? Are you surprised to find out they’re unlikely to spend time on your website? Can you blame them? They are your client after all. They are already getting the best you have to offer, right? The truth is, they are getting the best that you are offering them. The question becomes could you be offering them more? If so, how do you expect them to find out about it?

You have options:

Existing sales team: Can you assign your staff existing accounts to call on? If they sell new products or services they get the same commission as if it were a new client (obviously you don’t want to assign Jimmy’s client to Bobbi Sue if they’re both still employed by you). You could also have a contest. Take a week and have the entire focus be driving new business from existing business. Not only can you likely sell more to your existing clients, you can likely get multiple referrals from them too.

Email- Do a couple of e-mail campaigns that inform your clients of all of your offerings. Give them special pricing or volume discounts. If your services are valuable, you are doing them a disservice by not letting them buy it from you…especially if they are already buying it. There are lots of e-mail management services you can use to accomplish this like constant contact or icontact.

Direct mail- You can send surveys, product announcements, special promotions and more. They can be a postcard or a big fancy envelope with lots of info inside. If you do it right, like my client Continuity Programs** does, be sure to include a tear off pre-paid response card that collects leads for you.

Social media- Perhaps you’ve started a group for just your existing clients. If you haven’t, now wouldn’t be too late to do so. Keep them involved in what’s going on in your world. Give them insight on how to use your products better. Let them know from your perspective how they can work better with you. Add value to them. Always remember that your clients NEED (well, at the very least Want) you to be successful so you can continue servicing them. They are some of your biggest fans. Treat them as such!

Any of these options will work for you. If you did them all, that would work too. The key is to make a choice and then a concerted effort to make it happen. I hope you will implement some of these ideas because I am sure your business will grow.

What suggestions would you share?

*old school term that references ALL of the products and services a business offers.

** Continuity programs offers many lead generation and customer retention services that could be valuable to you. Their website is and phone # is 800-521-0026.