I need more customers


That is a comment I often receive when discussing sales development with potential clients.

Invariably I respond – no you don’t which gets some strange looks, if not comments!

I then add to that statement: You already have them!


That is the point, most businesses have a database, in one form or another of customers but they are not using it.

On average it costs you six times more to attract a new customer than keep an existing one, which in the current climate is a ‘no brainer’.



In sales there is the 80/20 rule – 80% of your orders come from 20% of your customers.

Have a look at you sales and it is probably around that figure.

Surprising isn’t it!


When I start working on a client’s sales development this is one of the first things to investigate and dissect into various categories, roughly: active, passive and defunct and this usually comes to approximately,20% active, 75% passive & 5% defunct.

It the 75% passive on which to focus.


In this group there is a proportion, which has just drifted away. You may have taken a few orders from them and not heard from them again – WHY.

The answer, I get, in the majority, was they never contacted us again.

So why did you not contact them?


Sales are about relationships, not ‘a quick buck’.

Re-engage with them.

If your contact has left find out who is the replacement and start a dialog.

Find out what is their current situation, where are their problems.


You are not selling to them but building that relationship and you will be perceived as an adviser.

The sales enquiries will then start coming.


That is not such a big step is it, and the cost to you will be your time.

If you get only 5 customers to go from passive to active that is going to improve your bottom line.


So, why don’t you blow the dust off your customer database today!


Written by Mike Vaughan

Mike Vaughan

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