Everyone in sales knows the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your income is generated by 20 percent of your clients. The numbers may not work out exactly that way in every business, but the idea is usually fairly accurate. Your business is likely supported mostly by a small minority of your customers.
You know who those customers are. They’re the ones who “get” your product or service, and they put it to good use. They don’t haggle with you over price because they see the value in what you offer and they have the budget to afford it. Their service requests are professional, and their expectations are reasonable.
If only you could clone those clients. Just think where your business would be.
So, why don’t you clone them? What’s stopping you from going out and getting 5, 10, even 25 more customers just like the best ones already in your book? If you know who your best customers are now, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find new ones just like them.
Of course, it’s not always that simple. New A-level customers don’t grow on trees. And they certainly don’t fall right into your lap. Chances are good that if they would make a great customer for you, they’re probably already a great customer for someone else. You’ll have to work hard to get their attention and pry them away.
Even though it may be a challenge, it’s worth it to have a documented plan in place to clone and expand your A-level list. Just one or two of those types of clients could transform your whole business. Below is a three-step process for you to use as you clone your best clients:
Step #1: Define what makes your best customers so great.
In my work coaching sales professionals and consulting with companies about their sales organizations, I see one fundamental obstacle when it comes to growing their list of A-level customers. Very often, companies able to identify who their best customers are, but they can’t identify why those people are their best customers.
Yes, there’s obviously the revenue that those customers generate, but that’s an obvious benefit. Real analysis should go deeper than that. Why are they a good fit for your company? And why are they happy with your service?
Start with your internal analysis and think about what makes them great customers for you. It could be that they’re forward thinking, so they value the service you offer. It may be that they aren’t limited by budget concerns or that they have a streamlined decision-making function. It could be that they’re tech-savvy, which makes them low-maintenance in terms of service.
There could be any number of items that make your customers so valuable to you. And this list of traits will vary by business. It largely depends on your company and your product.
The important thing is to define and document exactly what you are looking for in prospects. What makes them an A-level prospect? Look at your current top customers, define their most valuable traits, and then prioritize those traits to guide your prospecting going forward.
Step #2: Interview your top customers.
You’ve defined what you like about your top customers. Now it’s time to learn what they love about you. Soliciting feedback from your customers can be one of the most valuable exercises you can conduct for your sales process. You will likely learn things about your business that you had never even considered before.
Schedule times with each of your top customers for lunch or some other face-to-face setting where you will have their uninterrupted attention. Tell them that you want to grow your business and serve them better, and you would like to get their feedback.
This meeting is your time to learn not only how you can improve your service, but also how you can attract prospects who are similar to your client. This is an example of collaborating with your client which communicates to them that you are partners in each others success. Some questions you may want to ask include:
- What did you first find appealing about our company/product?
- What problems does our product help you solve?
- Where would you be with regard to that problem if you weren’t working with us?
- When you’re considering solutions like ours, what kind of analysis do you perform? Where do you get your information?
- How do you prefer to be approached by potential new vendors?
There are many more questions you could add to this list. The most important may be this one:
In your network, who could we help with our service in the same way we’ve helped you?
You have your client in front of you. You’re talking about growing and improving your business. Assuming they are happy with your service, what better time is there to ask for a referral? If you struggle with asking for referrals, check out this recent blog post.
Step #3: Develop an outside-in prospecting plan.
At this point, you should know exactly what your ideal prospects look like and you should know exactly what they will find attractive about your offer. The only thing left is to get out there and look for them.
Develop a plan for making contact and following up. Every prospecting plan is different, so customize it to your strengths and to your market. It could include emails, cold calls, networking through organizations, or even leveraging your current clients for referrals.
Also, document exactly how you will find your prospects, what questions you will ask to qualify them, and how you will present your offer. Script it out and rehearse it so your approach is second nature.
Most important, use your feedback from your client to develop an outside-in approach. That means putting yourself in your prospect’s shoes and looking at it from their angle. What problem do they need solved? What does their buying journey look like? Meet them on their terms and speak to their needs. Don’t just tell them what you want them to hear.
Cloning your A-level clients is no easy task, but the payoff can be huge. If you could use some support or guidance, let’s set up a time to discuss it. I’ve spent decades helping sales professionals scale their business and their success.
Schedule your free, no-commitment trial coaching session today.
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