It occurs to me that there are three main ways in which new or additional business can come to you:
You go out and find it (Hunting)
It comes in through referral or inbound marketing activity (Trapping)
You can up sell and/or cross sell to existing clients (Farming)
1 is hit and miss. Mainly miss!
2 is difficult to predict, if at all.
I've heard it said that it's easier to get £100 from an existing client than £1 from a new one. That's certainly been my experience.
In 2013 I devised and conducted a client satisfaction survey for one of my clients.
As someone not closely involved with the day-to-day management of the projects, I found that the clients were much more open with me than they would have been with their agency-side account or project manager.
From a list of 11 clients, I identified two accounts that were at risk for reasons of chemistry which we were able to address. Had we not received this vital feedback then, one or both of the clients may later have decided to go elsewhere before we had a chance to fix the problem.
I estimate that we avoided losing two clients and well over £200k of hard-won and profitable revenue per annum.
But of much more interest was what I learned about future client plans, about which the account teams had little or no knowledge.
I estimated that the plans had a total value of £4.2m.
More than half of the clients were unaware that an existing trusted partner (us) had the capability to deliver against these plans. "Really? I didn't know you did that"
My client followed up these leads and in the 12 months that followed, closed 65% of the additional business.
So ... get someone unconnected with your day-to-day operations to conduct client satisfaction surveys. Your clients will be pleased that you value their satisfaction and that you don't take their business for granted.
You might also find some hidden treasure just waiting to be picked up.
If you'd like to see the survey questions or have me survey your clients with the new business radar on, drop me a line. It doesn't have to be costly. You could save clients and fill up your future order book.
Don't hunt! Trap and farm.
Mark Walmsley (Consultant Marketing Director)