The 21st century sales ethos is very different to that of only a few decades ago. The 'hard and fast sell' approach of the archetypal salesperson of yesterday may have been effective in the short-term, but it was a model that ultimately had very little vision and is generally considered to be a very counterproductive means of selling a company's wares in the consumer world of today.
Indeed, in what is known as 'transaction marketing', the lack of a customer-centric philosophy and a 'sell-at-all-costs' attitude ultimately means that new business must be constantly generated. And this is why it's crucial for businesses of all sizes to never underestimate the value of a solid customer base, which can help to remove a lot of the pressure of having to find new customers.
Everyone knows that customers are the most important aspect of any business, and without them the company would simply not exist. And whilst targeting new business customers is an art in itself, there really is no excuse for not being able to instil a culture of good customer service within any organisation.
A good starting point for this would be adhering to the age-old idiom, 'the customer is always right'. Of course, this expression may be a little hackneyed these days and there will almost certainly be situations where the customer isn't right. But the sentiments behind the statement are integral to sustained success; keep the customer happy, and they will invariably remain loyal.
Furthermore, why wait for customers to return with their business, when they can be coerced back with special offers, new products and any number of other well-targeted incentives?
In an age that has seen IT move to the forefront of many organisations' business strategy, a networked computer used in conjunction with some very clever marketing software is perhaps one of the most powerful tools any company can have in terms of generating new business from existing clients.
Cross-selling is probably one of the more common marketing methods that is employed to create extra sales from existing customers. In the simplest terms, it involves looking at a customer's purchasing history and targeting additional products or services at them; it's imperative that these are of value to the client as there is a risk that the existing relationship could be jeopardised if they feel they are being 'over-sold'.
The whole process of marketing, selling and servicing existing customers is made a lot easier through the use of customer relationship management (CRM) software tools. CRM software can help businesses to make better informed marketing decisions, create shorter and more effective sales cycles and ultimately, it helps to develop a company-wide culture that is more customer-focussed.
And given that customers are the most important aspect of any business, anything that helps to maintain good client relationships can only be a good thing.
Ebele Kemery is associated with JPMorgan Asset Management; she has provided institutional client relationship management and tailored risk management solutions in the Investment Bank’s Global Commodities Group. Ms. Kemery is also a Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Global Commodities Applied Research Digest, and fulltuition scholar from toptier University possessing a Bachelors of Engineering in Electrical Engineering.
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