The 80/20 rule…
Would you believe that 80% of your sales most likely come from 20% of your customers? The reality is that this is undoubtedly the case for the majority of businesses, small and large. This means that more than likely, your next sale will come from someone who has already done business with you.
Back in 1906, Vilfredo Pareto learned that 80% of Italy’s wealth was held by only 20% of the people. Then one day, after examining his garden, he also realized that 20% of his pea pods accounted for 80% of his pea crop yield that year. Was there a lesson here? This got him thinking, and not long after, the “Pareto Principle” was established. With the same preciseness, this same principle can be applied to business. You may know it as the 80/20 rule.
This little-known principle sheds a lot of understanding of how businesses should be run. Rather than putting all your energy into a new business, you would be wise to spend a reasonable amount of your time following up and servicing people who have already given you business. After all, you’ve already removed the first barrier. Upselling current customers should come naturally? as long as you are proactive in following up and providing top-notch service.
What does this mean to you?
Imagine, about one-fifth of your customer base is just waiting for you to offer them something new. So if you’re not following up with your existing customers, you’re actually passing up 80% of your potential business. Of course, if you originally provided a poor experience, this may not be the case, but for businesses that operate on a principle of integrity, this should be a natural course.
Think about it. You’ve probably already invested heavily in getting that first piece of business? planning, advertising, promotional activity. Now it’s time to develop their “lifetime value.” There’s a lot of things you can do to show appreciation:
Christmas and birthdays: a great time to send over a thoughtful gift or Email.
Attend events: if your customer holds annual charity events or some sort of meeting, make sure you take the time to attend and show your support.
Renewals: a great time to touch base with a notice of renewal that expresses your heartfelt appreciation for their business.
Incentives: put your money where your mouth is and show your customers’ value. A gift incentive or discount can go a long way in terms of future revenues.
Touch base: call your customers every so often to see how they are doing, how the product/service you sold them is performing, and inquire or listen for any other needs. Use newsletter subscriptions to keep you top-of-mind.
Great service: the single-best way to ensure customers will remain loyal. Go above and beyond. You’ll be surprised at how much of an advocate that customer can turn out to be in terms of referrals.
Make sure you offer them more products/services that will meet real needs. If they liked you and the product they bought, they’ll buy from you again. The important thing is to always endeavor to meet the needs of your existing and future customers.
The Possibilities are Endless!