by Adams Hudson Click here to download a printable .pdf version of this article. Finding and selling new customers is great, but did you know that your filing cabinets are full of leads that have a greater potential to buy? It’s true. You spend much more time and energy trying to cultivate new customers than you would going back to people who have already bought something from you. Here are three great reasons to call on existing customers for new sales opportunities: Positive Feedback — Your company sounds more professional and that you’re committed to quality. You also get to see how your tech or sales rep did on the job. (If you tell them that the “Call Behind” plan is in effect, you’ll get an instant quality increase. Oh, and did I say that was free too?) Sales Opportunity — You don’t think I’d forget about this one, do you? This is your time to ‘up’ the order. You can simply say, “Now with your service, did our tech offer you the Maintenance Agreement? This could save you $X right now on this order?” Or you could say, “While we were out there, our tech noted that your duct work was contaminated. Does your family have allergies? Dust problems? I’d be happy to schedule a Free Indoor Air Quality survey to help take care of that for you. Would Wednesday be good for you?” Customer value — When a customer feels their opinion matters, it does wonders for the business relationship. Even if your customer only says, “Yes, everything was fine. Thanks for calling.” The overall effect is that you care. This will put you light years beyond the competition. An added benefit to this is that if your customers like and trust you, asking them for referrals is a natural. Referrals can make your marketing so much easier. But few contractors do it or know how. Here you go: Five Fast Ways To Get Referrals 1. Tell customers why they’re important as a referral source. 2. Tell customers you respect their relationship with you and with the referral. You would not pressure or annoy their kind referral. 3. Be specific. This is where most requests fail. They say “Who do you know that…” when you should ask, “Can you tell me 3-5 friends who have basically the same quality, comfort, or reliability needs?” 4. Learn at least one thing about the referral personally. This is crucial. Your rapport will increase mightily with this and the appointment will be almost automatic. 5. Ask as part of your sales closing. If you let much time lag, you can forget it. If customers understand this to be part of your sales procedure, you’ll get the names you need. So between referrals, positive feedback, sales opportunities, and customer value, working with people you’ve already sold to is a very smart thing to do. remember this — it’s easier to sell someone you’ve already sold to than it is to sell something to someone you haven’t. Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a Creative Marketing firm for contractors. Readers can get a free marketing newsletter by faxing their letterhead with the request to 334-262-1115. You can also call Hudson, Ink at 1-800-489-9099 for help or visit www.hudsonink.com for many free marketing articles and reports.