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Tough times call for retailers to focus on existing customers

Australian retailers feeling the impact of both the bushfires and now the coronavirus are more likely to fail if their sole focus is boosting new customer numbers, according to business profit coach and founder of Simply Smarter Numbers, Jen Waterson.

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“It’s not always about finding more clients. In some cases, it’s the worst thing a business can do,” Waterson said.

“It costs time and money to bring in new customers and when times are tough these resources are even more scarce. Retailers need to ask one crucial question: are they doing everything they can for their current customers?”.

Retailers are experiencing lower spending and significant drops in customer numbers with tough times becoming a way of life for business owners, according to Waterson.

Her advice is to tackle two key issues before investing time and money looking for new customers.

  1. Information is power

“Make sure all of your existing customers know all of the products or services you offer. Listing your products and services on your website doesn’t count. Physically reminding your existing customers of everything you offer can create quick sales. Your customers already know you, like you and trust you, so it’s an easier sell than finding brand new customers.”

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  1. Speak up

“Do you know if your existing customers have purchased all of your products or services? It’s as easy as striking up a conversation. Clearly not everyone will need or want everything you offer and that is OK. Go through your customer list and consider who may need, want or see value in other services you offer. Then make contact with them and open the conversation. If they aren’t in the market right now, ask for a referral, these people may know someone else that wants what you’re selling.”

On a final note, Waterson said, “Simplicity is the key – it is easier and cheaper to try and sell more to your existing customers than it is to spend all available time and money on marketing to new people.”