Have you left you back door open?
Opinion may be divided as to whether it is a factor of 5, 8 or more, but, whatever the multiplier is; all experts agree is that the cost of finding a new customer so called “hunting” is significantly more expensive than winning repeat or additional business from an existing client so called “farming.”
Hunting and Farming
To succeed in business you need to be good at both. This is not always as easy as it sounds. Successful deal makers can be great at clinching new business, but find handling day to day queries from existing clients tedious. In some, mainly larger organisations a dual sales approach is sometimes found, using account managers (Farmers), possibly office based complementing the field based Hunters.
The need for Hunting
Just to stand still, we need to win new customers. We live in dynamic times, customers can move on, close, be acquired or die. However well you look after your customer base, some will be lost. Hunting needs to replace the losses but is also key to growth. Good Hunters not only win new business in familiar areas, “The Comfort Zone” but are also seek out opportunities in new areas.
The stereotype of a Hunter is someone motivated by money, whilst often true, the actual race to win the deal and recognition also motivates them. Good hunters will rarely last long in a business that fails to deliver on these factors.
The need for Farming
As stated already, it is far most costly to hunt than to farm. This though isn’t the only reason to look after your customers. Existing customers provide regular income, possibly reference sites, referrals and relationships.
Loyal customers are the backbone of most businesses, just look at all of the incentive schemes on offer aimed at encouraging you to stay with the same supermarket, airline, coffee shop or whatever. Whilst some get it right, many get it wrong. Take for example insurance, rather than encourage loyalty, existing customers are often penalised with higher renewal premiums than new customers.
It may come as a surprise, but many businesses are doing better at Hunting than at Farming. This is often down to pressure of work, although intentions are good, that courtesy call never gets made. Here are some tips to help your farming;
- Have a system in place to remind you to maintain contact using a Calendar or CRM (Customer Relationship Manager)
- Newsletters keep customers in touch with new products, services and company news
- Web conferencing is an easy and cost effective way to maintain contact over wide areas
- User Forums, either venue or online.
- Telephone or at least email contact
- Always notify customers of organisational changes
To win over a customer, they need to be confident that the product or service meets their needs and that the supplier will deliver and support it satisfactorily. The sales person plays a keep part in both. Here are some tips to help your hunting succeed;
- Targeting, don’t waste effort where the product in offer doesn’t satisfy needs
- Be aware of competition, if you are better at A and they are better at B, target customers looking for A
- Be contactable and organised, failure on either will lose confidence
- Have a reference customers willing to speak up for you
- Prepare for meetings, try to have expertise on hand, if you cannot answer a query, don’t invent an answer instead promise to get back to them
Newsletters help Hunting and Farming
Newsletters are one of the most useful marketing tools, aim for a frequency of 4 to 8 weeks. Either separate or combined newsletters covering both Hunting and Farming are effective.
Well written newsletters demonstrate your expertise and raise you profile driving business to your website ultimately generating leads.
To help your hunting, a suitable emailing list is needed. This needs to be up to date GDPR compliant and targeted. Click on this link to find out more about Web-Clubs email marketing services. Your own user email list provides the audience for the Farming function.
Web-Clubs can guide you on your newsletter strategy, design your templates and undertake the actual emailing. They have fully maintained lists of consumers and business leaders. Here are some basic points to consider;
- Be regular, send every 4-8 weeks
- Adopt a common style and format
- Aim for one major topic per issue. Complement this with two to four other topics as well as company updates / news section.
- Don’t put everything into the newsletter, provide a summary with a link to your website for further information
- Avoid the temptation to ask people to register, the majority will leave