Existing Customers versus New Customers
To sell more effectively, what is the optimal percentage of spending our energy and time on maintaining existing customers and exploring new customers?
I remember finding out many years ago that it's 6 - 7 times harder to get a new customer than to keep the one you have.
Plainly, if you are in a business where you can get repeat business it makes sense to look after the customers you have.
From my own experience in importing I can recall that my biggest customer when I started with my last employer purchased one product and was spending $80,000 /year with us. Eleven years later they were buying 16 products and spending $2.2 million / year. It certainly paid me to look after them.
Also, note that I went from selling one product to selling sixteen to them. So, I gained quite a lot of NEW business from an existing customer. (This may not be possible in your business?)
I don't know how I divided up my time in terms of percentage spent on each but what I did was to make sure my current clients were looked after FIRST. I also spent a bit of time following up on things (like monitoring stock levels) to make sure there were no fires to put out because I knew fire-fighting took up an inordinate amount of time for little sales return.
Hope these comments help,
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