That could be the wrong approach, says industry experts. Forbes continues to report widely cited statistics showing that it costs up to five times more money to attract a new customer than to retain a new one. According to data from ClickZ, the success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is only 5-20%.
Despite these data, Investpro.com reports that twice as many businesses are focused on new customer acquisition instead of retention. But that may be changing, as more experts believe the best growth strategy for a small business is to look for ways to add value to their existing customer base.
“The biggest challenge for most businesses is learning how to maximize the client list they already have,” says Amiee Mueller, co-founder and Chief Engagement Engineer of Vast Action, Inc., which supports the growth and success of entrepreneurs, sales professionals, and small business owners. Mueller is a speaker, coach, and author of the book, Destination Awesome: Get the Life You Want Even if You Have to Beat the Odds! “You’ve already done the work of getting clients. Now it’s a matter of how to retain those clients for life, keep them loyal, and get their repeat business and referrals.”
Most businesses are not set up to do that effectively. According to Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, most businesses are not designed to handle more customers. “When a business owner says, ‘I don’t want to grow my business, I’d like to keep it about the same,’ what they are really saying is, ‘If my business got any bigger, doing it the way I’m doing it now, it would kill me!’” Gerber says.
Mueller overcame these challenges to build her $1.4 million-a-year business before teaching others how to sell, systematize, and scale their customer relationships for maximum leverage without creating chaos. “I didn’t start out intending to actually serve other businesses,” Mueller says. “But people kept coming to us, asking if we could help them do for their own businesses what we did for ours.”
For Mueller and her team at Vast Action, that success hinges upon creating a system that works. “If you don’t have a system in place, everything feels so chaotic,” Mueller, says. “It’s hard to manage everything, and you’re always all over the place.” For that reason, Vast Action helps businesses to master their sales process, to implement systems for organizing, tracking and communicating with clients and prospects, and to scale up in a way that lets business owners serve more people without sacrificing their lifestyle or becoming a victim of their own success.
“Working with Amiee Mueller and Vast Action has definitely taken my business to another level,” says client Brandon Wynn. “By marketing regularly to my customers, using Vast Action CRM, I have been able to build stronger relationships which has led to repeat business and growth to my customer list.”
Mueller believes there is always something businesses can do to add value to their existing customer base, and that this investment in the relationship creates more opportunities. “In its simplest form, value could just be teaching them how to correctly use what you already sold them,” she says. “And the best form of advertising is word of mouth. So, the better you are at serving people and adding value, the more likely they are to spread the word for you.”
Amiee Mueller is an author, speaker, and the co-founder of Vast Action, Inc., offering a variety of services and training programs with proven, actionable strategies for increased sales and sustainable business growth.
To explore Vast Action CRM or speaking, coaching, or consulting availability with Amiee Mueller, visit VastActionInc.com.