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The Expansion Sale: Four Must-Win Conversations to Keep and Grow Your Customers

The Expansion Sale Four Must-Win Conversations to Keep and Grow Your Customers

As an expert in decision-making science and its use in B2B marketing, sales and customer success, Tim Riesterer provides examples to improve customer engagement.

Analysts estimate that existing customers represent 70-80 percent of company revenue and profits.

Yet, despite the potential impact on annual revenue, companies are putting very little purposeful effort toward existing customers as a growth engine.

In fact, nearly half the companies surveyed by Corporate Visions invest less than 10 percent of their sales and marketing budgets in messaging and content for customer expansion opportunities like renewals and upsells.

Sales and marketing leaders generally grasp the importance of customer expansion. But the majority (58 percent according to our survey data) don’t see any need to tailor their messaging for conversations with existing customers. They simply use the same one-size-fits-all approach, regardless of customer relationship.

Despite getting short shrift from an investment standpoint, existing customers are the key growth engine, especially within businesses that rely on recurring revenue and expanding customer relationships to grow.

So, should you treat customer expansion the same as customer acquisition? Or does it require its own distinct messaging, content, and skills competencies?

Turns out, the same techniques that work for customer acquisition actually backfire when you need to renew customers, get them to pay more, expand the relationship, or regain their loyalty. Research proves that these situations have their own unique pressures and demands that sales and marketing teams need to understand and tap into.

To Challenge or Not to Challenge?

Challenging buyers to disrupt their status quo, change, and choose you. This strategy is one of the most popular sales techniques today.

When you’re talking to a new prospect, it makes sense to challenge their status quo and persuade them to switch to your solution. In fact, our research found that a provocative messaging approach that begins by introducing an Unconsidered Need enhances your persuasive impact by 10 percent.

But to your customers, you are the status quo. And research shows that using a provocative, challenging message when you’re trying to renew or expand business with your existing customers increases the likelihood that they’ll shop around by at least 10-16 percent.

Clearly, your messaging shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all effort that’s universally applied across the entire customer lifecycle. Customer retention and expansion conversations have their own demands, pressures, and buyer psychology. Your renewal, price increase, upsell, and apology conversations need to reflect that psychology.

Adapting your stories and skills for these must-win moments means understanding what research (not opinions or hunches) reveals about effective customer engagement.

Our new book, The Expansion Sale, shows you how to tailor your messages, content, and skills for the questions your existing customers are asking in four key commercial moments:

  • Why Stay? Why should I renew with you?
  • Why Pay More? Why should I pay more for your solutions?
  • Why Evolve? Why should I buy even more from you?
  • Why Forgive? Why should I trust you after a service failure?

Backed by an unprecedented depth of research into what motivates your existing customers to buy, this book gives you rigorously tested and proven messaging frameworks that will fundamentally change how your organization approaches sales and marketing conversations.

Order your copy here!
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The Expansion Sale: Four Must-Win Conversations to Keep and Grow Your Customers

Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy Officer at Corporate Visions, is a visionary thought leader, keynote speaker, and practitioner with over 20 years of marketing and sales management experience. Riesterer is co-author of four books: Customer Message Management, Conversations That Win the Complex Sale, The Three Value Conversations, and The Expansion Sale.