As small business owners we’re all looking for ways to increase revenue in what is proving to be a challenging business climate. It’s a truism that it costs less to derive additional value from an existing customer than it does to gain a new customer.
One of the most effective ways of increasing customer value and business revenue is through upselling. And one of the keys to this is understanding your customer at a deeper level…
This seems obvious when it’s written down like that – but it’s surprising how often we neglect to dig a little deeper to find out why our customers are actually buying from us. We take for granted that they are buying garden fertiliser because they want to help their plants grow better, or that they’re buying a new couch because their old one has become a bit ragged. So we just sell them our wares without discussing their underlying needs. In other words, we miss sales opportunities because we don’t try to discover whether there is a “problem” they are trying to solve, and what that is.
To put it in context, let’s look at an example in the content marketing industry. As a web content writer, one may be asked to rewrite a client’s website. A client will then advise that they want the copy to be ‘refreshed’, or that it’s too wordy and needs to be edited. On the face of it, that makes perfect sense and it’s easy to just get stuck in and give the copy a fresh lick of paint to satisfy the client’s requirements.
Based on this, it’s wise to always ask questions that would help you define define and create clear solutions to help overcome real problems/challenges. In other words – what’s the real problem here? And this discussion often leads to extra work. The website content may need to be structured differently, or the pages laid out more engagingly, or proper conversion funnels created using the copy.
It’s all about discovering what deeper problems your clients are trying to solve. Returning to the above examples, people buying your fertiliser may be doing so because they’re struggling to grow a specific type of plant. You may well be able to help them to grow that plant by selling them other products.
Some of the people buying new couches might find that their old ones have become uncomfortable, not because of the couch itself, but because of some kind of repetitive stress injury from sitting in the wrong position on a couch that doesn’t provide enough support. This may allow you to sell a more expensive supporting couch, rather than just replacing their old one with the same type of model.
Importantly, when you take the time to solve your customer’s underlying problems, rather than just making the obvious sale, you’re gaining a different type of customer loyalty that will pay off repeatedly. Your customers will return to you – not only because your products are good, but because you showed care and consideration for their real needs, and took the time to help them meet those needs.