How to Grow Your Sales by Maximizing Existing Accounts
Each day that Sunny Goel heads to AG Marketing Solutions to fulfill his duties as company president, he holds that his King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based distributorship is not the same one that he had left the night before. For the entrepreneur, complacency stands as the biggest deterrent to growth and a threat to every facet of his operations and that of any other business. An unwillingness to evolve can also jeopardize current commercial relationships at a time when clients, according to Goel, are seeking meaningful relationships with their business partners.
As competition is intensifying, companies are seeing their growth come under pressure. But, maintaining ties to current clients may arguably be the more grueling task because, no matter the duration of a professional bond, people will accept the offer that best suits their needs. Losing someone’s backing is a terrible blow and can happen for a variety of reasons, including a sense of—or an actual display of—neglect. Goel avoids taking anything for granted in his dealings with clients and works hard to grow AG Marketing Solutions’ sales tallies no matter the age of an account, paying special attention to ones with some years behind them.
In his role as a partner for North Wales, Pennsylvania-based Modern Strategic Branding + Communications, Kevin Connor operates with the same mindset, leading Print+Promo to consult him and Goel for tips on how their peers can likewise boost their bottom lines by remaining attentive to those already in their folds.
Members of the print and promotional products world are perpetual students of consumer psychology. This buying behavior is what guides many exchanges and compels business-minded folks to have the gumption to pitch their services and make suggestions to enhance a client’s project, reputation or standing. It can also bear reservations within sales professionals, though Goel is especially keen on helping people to avoid falling prey to those would-be hindrances.
“I will always say we should never have false perceptions that a client does not want to spend money,” he shared. “Yes, in these times, it can be easy to presume that people are going to limit their expenditures because, frankly, many are going to, but what harm is it going to do, especially if they’re sources of existing business, for you to see if you can be of additional assistance to them?”
Helming an accounting system that includes thousands of accounts, Goel and his team devote their time to pulling off print, promo and web projects, with the leader enjoying that he can bring people in through “different doors.” Approaching his job as someone who does not sell but who offers solutions instead, Goel feels comfortable explaining to clients the likely benefits of diversifying their reach. Now that many companies have come to see print and promo as a formidable pair, Goel’s ideas for combining the channels into a single branding opportunity, when appropriate, are well received.
“I’ve had many clients for more than 15 years, so there’s definitely a trust factor involved,” Goel acknowledged. “That being said, nothing is a guarantee because requests are becoming more involved, and if your skill set isn’t up to par to be able to handle what people want done, who can blame them if they feel as if they can have their needs fulfilled elsewhere?”
AG Marketing Solutions has held a place in its respective field for more than two decades, but Goel also noted that places do not have to have accumulated a significant amount of years to be able to sense that people could always, at least theoretically, benefit from more service options. One could even argue that younger companies have an advantage because they learn immediately that a mix of tools—particularly direct mail/digital marketing combinations—makes them an attractive prospect. However, no matter how many digits companies have in the age column, Connor sees their goal as a pretty clear-cut one.
“Our task is to be great at corporate storytelling,” he said. “If people are struggling to know how to package and present themselves, we have to be there with layered answers for them and be ready to massage the impulse that they have to buy. Even when people have been with you for some time, they might struggle to see how they can adapt to changing marketplaces. That sense of uncertainty has to matter as much to you as the sureties that you’ve experienced by working with them.”
Groomed in a sales environment thanks to his Cadillac-selling father, Connor expressed that meshing with people comes naturally to him. That gift helps Modern Strategic Branding + Communications handle hundreds of accounts from pizza shops to plastic manufacturers. Therefore, his company’s portfolio reveals a major detail about print and promo’s reach.
“Everyone needs our services to gain traction,” Connor said. “We’re in a business that can never—and will never—be static. It thrives on change, especially for clients, so you need to be sharp and sense how you can make their projects stand out. Regardless of the size of the people who are giving you business, you should look to reinvent them, in some way, because gone are the days when people can coast and dominate in their respective fields.”
What, then, should places do to ensure that they choose being proactive over reactionary? For Goel, who stressed the importance of being proactive as much as possible, showing evolution in everything from values to services will win favor.
“Think about how often in life we feel inclined to settle or actually go ahead with being content,” he advised. “Realize that when you give in, you’re undermining the worth of a customer to your business and putting yourself at risk for losing that person.”
Success resounds as a relative concept because not all projects are aiming to grab every headline and pull in hefty sums for causes, campaigns, etc. That is not to say that companies should not treat each endeavor with the utmost respect. Rather, they should know quite well what a client’s circle of influence looks like and plot accordingly to provide services to it, if feasible.
“To maximize how someone perceives you, I’d say that you have to be a great listener,” Goel said. “I think what we all have going for us is that people are wanting to make sure that each cent goes to great use, so how about applying that mentality yourself by, let’s say, mailing a promo gift and mentioning other services or considering the selling of more relevant, useful or premium promo items to give yourself more exposure and a greater chance to prove that you can take their trust in you and make everything more lucrative for them?”
In addition, Goel advocated for, whenever possible, engaging in another form of intimate connection, namely, traveling to those who are sustaining your livelihood as you are upholding their mission.
“That in-person interaction will always appeal to me,” Goel, who engages in at least two business-related treks each week, said. “If you’re able to head to conventions, conferences, symposiums and anything like them, you’ll add that bit of confidence in your own abilities and help clients to see that you’re more than a number on a spreadsheet.”
A strong web presence is another must-have resource for him when it comes to maximizing existing business because it will reveal to customers an understanding of the ever-shifting business world and provide space for testimonials, something that Connor appreciates, too.
“I love the opportunities that can come about because of cross-pollination,” he said. “It’s great when you can use your long-standing ties to someone as a way to say, ‘Hey, I’ve helped them, so how can I help you similarly?’ I find that if you do a great job of documenting what you’ve done for others through your website, your other clients—maybe even those in the same line of work—will be keen on using your services and gaining even more renown. Since their decision to do so will benefit you, too, who wants to miss that chance for a win-win situation?”
We mentioned consumer psychology earlier, but what about that of business-minded individuals? What does having a hefty amount of existing accounts do for their mindsets? Is there extra pressure to perform, for example?
“People fascinate me and always have,” Connor said. “Therefore, it feels great to me to help them to stand shoulder to shoulder with their peers. I love falling back on my curiosity to drive theirs. If that’s through traveling, having a great website, being a dinosaur and actually calling them, or finding some other means, it’s all worth it because if you have even one existing account, that means that someone has given you great responsibility. When so many people are looking to represent clients and their needs, it’s great to feel wanted and even greater to give people the confidence that what they’re putting out there is going to be successful.”
“I love immersing myself in knowing what makes clients tick,” Goel added. “At stores and restaurants, we see all the time about how we can take what we’re about to buy and add something to it for a marginal increase. Places look to make us think those add-ons are going to make our initial purchase better. It’s the same thing, to an extent, in our world. We know that our services are good and that using them will set our clients apart. How, then, can we make their experience even better? In a nutshell, be astute, purposeful and fair. They’ll know where you both stand if you are.”