Selling more to existing customers

The easiest way to start is to set up a campaign to contact directly to your existing profitable customers. Focus on the 20% that generate 80% of your sales to increase the chance they will respond. Ask if there is anything they need (you’ll be surprised how many say yes) and offer them an incentive (from discounts to pre-payment deals to advance notice of new releases).

If you have small numbers of customers you should be able to do this in-house (even manually) but the larger the number the more likely you’ll need contact software.

First steps

  • Contact inactive customers and call those that haven’t bought for a while, with the goal of either uncovering new needs or find out why they haven’t bought for some time.
  • Analyze customer buying behavior from your sales records. Identify complementary products and services they could have bought and then contact them with an offer.
  • If your customers have upcoming trade shows or conferences, plan to exhibit or attend so you can talk to them about additional needs. Much business can be concluded at networking and social events. If these events are virtual then you can still ‘attend’ and participate in chat groups.
  • Run an event that incentivizes your best customers to attend. It could be to view a demonstration of products, joint venture opportunities, or even an invite to a sporting event to try and uncover any extra sales opportunities.
  • Analyze local industry information for growth patterns. For example, if you sell to the construction industry, and you find that a particular region is seeing a growth in commercial building, chances are some of your clients in that region may also be growing. Ring them first.
  • Encourage customers to buy in advance, especially if you’re selling something people buy in bulk.

Find new products and services to sell

Your existing customers may also be wanting other products and services that you don’t currently offer. Conduct a customer feedback exercise specifically about what else could you provide your existing customers that you currently don’t.

Other tactics include conducting a competitor analysis (even worldwide) to identify if similar businesses to yours have a different product mix that you could adopt and identify any strategic partners who have new products that you could resell to your current customer base.

You could also identify new products or services you can offer online through other suppliers, so you can offer them to your existing customers without needing to hold the inventory or equipment.

Set up a customer loyalty program

It’s not anything new. But rewarding your customers with incentives for being a customer is a common courtesy and if you manage it properly, will bring in extra business.

Point cards and free perks are a proven way to increase customer engagement and improve brand loyalty. You’ll often find that customers buy more when enrolled in a loyalty program. Implement one and chances are you'll see a rise in visit frequency, customer spending and satisfaction. Once people start talking about your loyalty program, you may even draw some new customers away from the competition.

You could host special events, giving your regulars the first opportunity to sample or try a new product or service.

Spread word of your new rewards program through all of your communication channels, including email, social media, newsletters and employees. Encourage customers to try your new program by gifting them some starter points or purchase credits or by offering an additional percentage discount from their next purchase when they start using the program.

Source supplier deals

Do your suppliers have bulk or obsolete product they want to shift? If your suppliers have a product they want to sell quickly, you could promote a ‘bulk supplier deal’ to your customers and pay for the goods only when sold (on consignment). This eases issues with margin, cash flow, or being left with obsolete stock at the end of the 90 days.

Many suppliers have products they can’t shift; talk to yours about what they have you can help sell. They might even subsidize the advertising costs while you’re demonstrating to your existing customers your value.


Selling to existing customers is the easiest way to increase sales revenue because existing customers already know and (hopefully) trust your business. They are likely set up as customers with an account, so you have their email address, contact information, and payment preference. All of these advantages can be used to reach out to existing customers with an interesting opportunity, special offer, product suggestion, informative newsletter, or event invite.

Review your accounting records to spot customers who haven’t bought from you recently and set up a contact campaign, sharing industry insight, trends or other helpful information. Ask what you can do for them.

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