Maximizing relationships means you find ways to get new dollars from existing clients. Generally speaking, you want to work to increase your share of sale with your clients that may need more from you. You want to purposefully work toward getting a bigger “piece of the pie.” This will get you closer to a 100-percent share of sale.
If at all possible, you also want to think of creative ways to grow the overall pie. One of my clients, “Tom,” owned a business that monograms T-shirts and other items. He was working with a large client company. “ClientCo” had almost 100 different decision makers with budgets, and Tom knew one of them. I knew immediately that my job was to help him get in front of the other 99.
The decision maker that Tom had built a relationship with purchased about 50 T-shirts for a charity walk his department was sponsoring. So I asked Tom the key questions: What else? Who else? What’s bigger than that? What else could he sell this decision maker, and who else might want to buy these T-shirts? After all, ClientCo had 20,000 employees. A sale of 50 T-shirts was just scratching the surface.
Tom thought about the questions.
He knew of a second charity walk that the department was sponsoring later in the year that would more than double the order. We talked more and decided also to offer water bottles and key chains T-shirts. I continued to ask Tom for more possibilities until he was stumped.
Then I asked Tom to think big: “What about the other people in the company who don’t get to go on the walk? Would they want to wear a T-shirt in support of the 50 people who do?” Tom offered this option to the decision maker, and he loved it. It just so happened that ClientCo was looking for opportunities to promote inter-departmental cooperation, and the T-shirt offer fit perfectly. This dramatically increased the size of the order and opened the door for Tom to meet with heads of other departments.
In my experience, about nine out of 10 business owners and sellers don’t think to take these additional steps once they’re in the door with a particular client organization.
It takes a little more thought and planning. You need to stay alert for openings that might not be obvious. But if you keep asking yourself, “What else?” and “Who else?” and “What’s bigger than that?” as you continue to cultivate your relationships, you may be surprised how many opportunities you’ll uncover. They can triple your business or more!