Focus on the sausage, let your customers sell the sizzle!

With traditional forms of advertising gradually becoming less effective year on year, the majority of consumers are now making purchase decisions based on recommendations from friends, colleagues and websites that they trust, nurturing existing customer relationships is now more critical than ever.

Despite this shift in buyer behaviour, many businesses still see the acquisition of new customers as being a bigger priority than looking after existing ones. However, this approach can stifle a business’s ability to grow organically.

The old adage of “sell the sizzle and not the steak” no longer applies. These days it’s all about getting your ‘Steak’ (product) so scrumptious that your customers sell the ‘sizzle’ (emotional benefits) to other potential customers for you.

People don’t want to buy what people want to sell anymore. They buy what other people want to buy and that’s why you need to start looking after your existing customers.

Here are three tips on how you could generate more business through your existing customer base:

1. Balance marketing spend on acquiring new customers vs retaining customers

How much do you currently spend acquiring new customers? You may spend thousands on print advertising, online search marketing or perhaps social media; however, have you ever considered spending 50% of that budget on making your existing customers feel extra special?

70% of businesses surveyed by e-consultancy believed it was more profitable to spend budgets retaining existing customers over trying to acquire new ones. We would agree. We regularly hold business events exclusively to our existing clients only. We provide free insights and proactive sites to existing clients so that they are aware of the latest trends, technology and stay ahead of competition.

It’s the small things that make a big difference. Some ways that you can improve & retain customer relationships include:

  • Implement a CRM system: Firstly, CRM is not about IT. It’s an ethos. You don’t necessarily need a CRM I.T system to look after customers with care, however if you have plenty of customers an I.T system certainly helps. We highly recommend Salesforce as a CRM system. It can help you better understand customers, automate business processes, give you a 360 view of key performance indicators and essentially equip you to deliver a better service.
  • Ask your customers what they want: People buy into their wants and not necessarily what you think they need. You can use a free survey tool such as to gain insights into what your customers value and how you could improve your product or service. When you listen and make adjustments to your offering to make it better for the customer, it shows that you care – customers appreciate it and it cements your relationship further.

2. Use existing customer success stories

At M4B, we focus our efforts on telling stories about our clients and promote their success stories. People don’t want to know about what we do, however they love to hear about how we have helped businesses become more successful! This is something you can do too.

If you deliver exceptional products and services, your customers will be happy to get involved in case studies, video interviews and reviews – These are crucial as it’s what potential customers value and look for when making a purchase decision.

Remember – People buy from other people and their experiences, so note down some customers that would be happy to get involved in a case study, and get the ball rolling on developing some success stories.

3. The 80/20 rule – very insightful rule indeed

You can apply this globally recognised rule to any business.  Some common business examples:

20% of our customers generate 80% of our revenue.
80% of our headaches are caused by 20% of customers

The point I’m making here is that it’s worth taking stock on your existing customer base too. You can’t please everybody; it’s impossible and in fact if you try to, it’s unlikely you have a ‘stand out’ message that resonates with your desired target audience. If you try to please everybody, someone misses out.

In the example above, if we eliminated the 20% of customers who caused 80% of the business headaches, we would have more time to spend on giving remaining customers (who value what you offer) more dedicated time and care. You could focus energies on making these customers feel so special that they become advocates for your business. They start selling the ‘sizzle’ around what you offer because you nurture the relationship you have with them.