What Is the Easiest Sale to Make Today?
You know you need more business. Obviously, the first step is to make your offering available for sale. If you’re like me, you probably want those sales already made yesterday! You do have choices available to you, however, regarding what you sell and who your target customer is. Let’s start by answering the title question: What is the easiest sale to make today?
- A new product to a new customer
- A new product to an existing customer
- An existing product to a new customer
- An existing product to an existing customer
What’s the answer? We entrepreneurs love big ideas. But if we’re not careful, promoting new ideas can consume too much of our time. Eventually we must ask ourselves if promoting our new big idea is the best use of our time. Let’s say we have the goal of getting the most reward for the least amount of effort. We’re not lazy, just a little greedy. Plus, we have other things to do. Let’s review each of the following choices we make regarding what to promote and who the audience is: A New Product to a New Customer Arguably the most difficult product to sell is a new product to a new customer. Why? Imagine the situation from the new customer’s perspective. The new customer doesn’t know you, your company, or your new product. Is the new customer comfortable? Probably not. It’s not an impossible sale, but it’s definitely the most challenging. You like challenges sometimes, though, right? New Product to an Existing Customer Here, the customer knows you and already buys other products from your company. Half the battle is won. Now all you have to do is convince the customer that the new product benefits them enough for the price. OK. You can try that. An Existing Product to a New Customer You are very comfortable with your product and your company—however, your new prospective customer isn’t quite as comfortable. You’ve sold your product before and had many satisfied customers. Unfortunately, the new customer doesn’t know you. They might have heard of your company, but not you. The task here is really to get them comfortable with you first and then your product afterwards. Make sense? An Existing Product to an Existing Customer Ding, ding, ding! If you answered “D,” then you are correct. The product has substantiated its value to a number of customers over time. Your customer already decided to buy an existing product from you. Therefore, due to their comfort with you, your product, and your company, you will encounter the least resistance—making this the easiest sale. For those of you that have been in business for a while, you probably already know this. But how do you use this knowledge? Why do so many experienced businesspeople get out of balance with their sales and marketing efforts? In my travels I observe the majority of sales and marketing time being spent on marketing new products to new customers. The rationalization that I hear most often is, “That’s how we grow our business.” That’s true if existing customers continue to buy your existing products with minimal customer attrition. In other words, don’t give up existing customers to acquire new customers unless you absolutely have to. In conclusion, it’s easiest to sell existing products to existing customers. They know you, you know them, and the value exchange has been proven. The hardest sale is a new product to a new customer. The other two options fall somewhere in between on the effort meter, depending on your situation. My advice is to make sure you’ve handled the existing products and existing customers before branching out to new products and new customers. When acquiring a new customer, the unfamiliarity creates a challenge. Having both a new product and a new customer makes for a very difficult sale. By taking care of our current customers today, we are in a much better position to take care of our new customers tomorrow. I hope that you find the balance between new and existing products and customers that suits you best.