From 2001 to 2007, I was a school board trustee. For those who don’t know, this amounts to having a non-paying part-time job. The politics involved and the amount of time it consumed made it almost impossible for me to do any serious marketing for my CPA firm. But we still managed to double our firm’s billings during this time period with almost no real marketing.
I knew that I did not have time for any serious marketing with non-customers. Every new customer takes time—time to solve their initial problem, and time to convert them to a consistent paying customer. I also knew that time was something I did not have much of.
So we made a conscious decision to concentrate on selling additional services to our main customers. My rationale was that my best customers already knew me, liked working with me, and trusted me, making it much easier to sell to them. This proved to be very true, as my top 10 customers in 2007 were responsible for almost two-thirds of the revenue increase I experienced while on the school board.
A few other benefits of selling to your best customers:
- The work they needed done was much more interesting, as I was working with them to increase their sales and profits.
- When you concentrate on meeting your best customers’ needs, you make it almost impossible for your competitors to steal them from you.
- They are much more likely to refer their friends to you. Since people tend to be friends with people similar to them, the quality of the referral is very high.
- Your best customers have the ability to pay. If you solve their problems, they have very little problem with your fee. Plus, they pay on time.
Even though I am no longer on the school board, concentrating on selling to my best customers is still a very large part of my annual marketing and sales plan. You should do the same if you want to dramatically increase both your sales and profits.