Are You Getting All The Business
You Should Be?
By Paul Reilly
Organizations are obsessed with new business. Sales managers tell their salespeople, “Go out here and find new business” or “Sign X number
of new accounts this quarter.” Salespeople focus on new
business and ignore their greatest growth opportunity
— their existing customers. The best (and easiest) way to
grow is to focus on your existing customers.
Salespeople focus on new prospects when they
think there are no opportunities to grow their existing
customers. Consider this example from a salesperson in
a recent seminar. This salesperson was challenged by his
manager to sell more to his top customer.
The salesperson explained, “My sales manager
challenged me to grow one of my top accounts. I
explained to my manager that I was already getting all
the business I could. My manager then made a joint call
to this account. While on the call, my manager flipped
through the catalog and asked the customer, ‘Did you
know we also sold these items?’ The customer responded,
‘I had no idea you sold all of this. We buy tons of this
stuff.’” The sales manager made his point.
Too often, salespeople fail to grow an opportunity
because they’re unaware of the potential. You can’t
grow an account if you don’t believe there are growth
opportunities. Think of how many opportunities are
missed by not knowing.
Other salespeople miss opportunities because
they don’t clearly understand their customer’s
business or industry. If you don’t understand your
customer’s industry, how could you understand
opportunities in their industry? Industry
knowledge is critical. In fact, our research
on top-achieving salespeople revealed that
knowledgeable expertise is the No. 1 attribute
customers look for in a salesperson.
Tony Robins, entrepreneur, author and
speaker, famously said “If you are not growing,
you’re dying.” This quote applies to several
aspects of business, but especially sales.
Some salespeople are satisfied with the status
quo. For these salespeople, complacency has set
in. They have reached the sales plateau. They no longer
pursue new opportunities. They don’t want to “rock the
boat.” They’re happy with what they have.
In any case, the end result is the same — missed
opportunities. However, an opportunity missed is an
opportunity gained… for your competition.
These missed opportunities are opportunities to create
more value for the customer. If you are not creating
enough value for your customer, your competition
probably is. Your best customers represent your greatest
opportunity to grow. Use these ideas to fully realize your
growth potential with existing customers.
Identify New Problems To Solve
In a recent Reilly Sales Training study, top-achieving
salespeople said the most effective way to sell more
to existing customers is to find new problems to solve.
However, top-achievers don’t sit around and wait for
problems to surface, they find them. The best salespeople
are professional moles. They burrow their way into an
organization and relentlessly search for problems to solve
and opportunities to create value.
When hearing “problem solver,” I’m always reminded
of a salesperson I worked with that branded himself as
such. He would end every sales call asking his customers