Ask: What else can I offer you?

There’s a well-known rule of thumb in business that says 20% of your customers will generate 80% of your income. The idea is that once they buy from you and have a great experience, they’ll return to buy from you again and again, and will prove to be your best customers.

That was great. What else do you have?

Think of a musical group—let’s say U2, for instance. Yes, they’re musicians, but they are also running a business. If I hear one of their songs on the radio and like it, I may download the album. As I fall in love with every one of the songs on that album, I may start looking around for more of their albums, collecting them over time. And I will likely buy tickets to a concert so I can see them live. And while I’m at the concert, I’ll be tempted to purchase tshirts, commemorative hats, books, DVDs, posters, etc.

My interest in one song that I can purchase for around a dollar from iTunes could eventually lead to me spending hundreds of dollars purchasing U2 songs and memorabilia over time, since they keep coming up with more stuff I want to have.

Build a product funnel that keeps them coming back for more.

That’s a perfect product funnel. I get something I want from a business for very little money and risk (the dollar download for one song), and because I’m happy with my purchase, I go looking for more things I can buy from that same business since I expect I’ll be pleased each time. The marketers for the band have carefully considered what a rabid U2 fan like me would likely want to spend her money on, and they create all sorts of offerings to feed my consumption frenzy. Sure, I have that cool black concert tshirt from 1995, but what about a hoodie, maybe with the new album cover featured on the back? Or a belt? A hat? Why not?

Many of the mom entrepreneurs I coach have come up with a great idea for a business, a product or service, but they’re stumped when it comes to generating enough sales. If they have sold what they have to all their existing customers, many small business owners assume the only way to make more money is to find new clients.

It’s much more expensive and time-consuming to find a new client than it is to sell something new to an existing client. After all, you already know how to contact your existing clients, they already know you and likely trust your business to deliver what they expect, and you already know a bit about what your existing clients need. It takes much less marketing to get your existing clients to buy new offerings than it does to get a total stranger to try you out for the first time.

My advice to you: Take a look at your existing customer base. What did they buy? What else could you create for them that would be incredibly valuable to a person that bought those items from you before? If you’re in the services business, can you package together a few of your solutions and offer them at a discount? Consider the time of year and create something that has seasonal interest (Summer Prep Kit, Back-to-School Guide, Mother’s Day Special, etc.). If you sell products, what else would your customers love to have from you? If you create custom notecards, what about holiday cards, or business cards, or post cards, or flyers and brochures?

By carefully considering what your existing customers have enjoyed purchasing from you and knowing what they need, you can create additional offerings that help fill out your product funnel. And when your product funnel is in place, you’ll always have something else to offer your best customers.

How is your product funnel looking? What can you add to it to satisfy the needs and wants of your best customers?


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