How to Make Easy Money Without Finding New Clients

Written by Rob Malec

Looking for the best way to grow your revenue? It’s a common mistake to assume that means landing new clients. In fact, easy money is yours for the taking if you put some effort into getting new revenue from your existing customers.

In my work as a Fractional VP Sales, I regularly encounter business owners who are so busy trying to find new clients that they forget to mine their existing customer base. Further, in the rush to find those new clients they don’t realize that some of their long-time loyal customers are leaving out the back door.

Unlock Easy Money From Existing Customers

To get new revenue from your current customers, you need a systematic approach to mine your existing customer base methodically over time. Planning your work, and working your plan unlocks this vault of easy money. The tried-and-true “Land and Expand” approach to customer success generates revenue reliably and predictably. 

A client will rarely raise their hand to ask to learn about your entire suite of products and services. As time goes by, it’s unlikely they will stay up to speed on your new product enhancements, additions, and deletions. That’s why it’s important to have your team stay personally connected with your customers – this will present daily opportunities to broaden your service footprint there. 

A Strategy for Expanding Revenue From Current Clients

Email blasts and newsletters are nice, but you only need to look at the low open rates on them to realize that most of your customers aren’t seeing this information. Try this strategy instead…

Segment Your Customer Base and Schedule Regular Meetings

Work with your team to segment your customer base into four tiers (A, B, C, D) based on annual revenue generated. This will give you a clear baseline picture of which clients are contributing what and who could benefit from an expanded suite of products or services.

Then, set a connection cadence for each tier that will dictate how often a team member should reach out to the client. For example, tier A clients are to be personally contacted once a month, B’s every 2 months, C’s every 3 months and D’s every 6 months.

Master the Art of the Customer Business Review

The objective when meeting with these clients is to perform a Customer Business Review (CBR).  During this meeting with the client, your representative will

  • close out on any outstanding customer service issues
  • recommend new products and services that the client would find helpful
  • attempt to get connected to other parties within the buyer’s organization that could use your company’s help

The magic of conducting productive CBR meetings is in the preparation. To close out on any outstanding customer service issues, the person conducting the meeting will need to have researched your CRM to confirm if any exist and whether they were resolved. 

If they are to recommend new products and services, they will need to know exactly which ones are currently being used by the customer, to what degree, and in what application.  They will also need to know ordering patterns, total revenue generated, and payment history. Gathering this information requires access to your accounting software.

To deepen their connection base, your representative will need to understand who the players are they currently deal with and what their roles are. To probe for more applications for your products and services, they will need to strategize where they would like to be connected next.

These new connections may reside within the department you are currently in. On the other hand, they may be in other departments that you don’t currently service but could use your products and services. It may be that instead they are not within your client’s organization but are external to their company. Understanding who your client’s providers are may even lead to net new client acquisition opportunities.

When delivering on the sales coaching part of my consulting role I have worked with clients to help them create and streamline their “Land and Expand” process. As with most things, there are many nuances around this. If you would like to learn more so you can bring in easy money, I am happy to help. Please feel free to reach out at [email protected]

how to improve sales

Clarity in the Sales Function: Effective Ways to Improve Sales Performance

Written by Rob Malec

From the outside looking in, job role clarity in sales seems like it should be easy. Work with buyers, help them to become clear on their needs, present your products and solutions in a compelling way, and close the deal. Simple, right? In reality, it’s trickier than you might expect. 

A lack of clarity around the specific duties and tasks your salespeople are required to perform leads to undesired behaviours, conflicts within the team, and poor sales results. To ensure great performance and to improve sales, you should focus on maximizing your team’s productivity by providing maximum job role clarity. 

Areas to Create Clarity to Improve Sales

You need to consider several aspects of your sales function when it comes to clarifying team roles. Here are some classic gray areas to watch out for that can throw sand into your sales gears. 

In-Bound Prospects

All inbound prospects are not created equal. Some represent a large revenue generation opportunity. Some have a higher probability of closing quickly. Others present the best opportunity for a long-term relationship with multiple purchases. Within your sales team, who gets which sales leads?

Typically, all net new inbound sales inquiries should go through your business development department or person. This role is typically more junior (and lower paid) and the buyer qualification process is relatively straightforward, so it makes the most sense to have these folks handle them. Save the more complex part of the selling and closing work for your sellers.

Clearly and plainly lay out how inbound leads will be distributed to your sellers. Will it be based on the geographic location of the prospect, their potential revenue size, or their industry vertical? If you have multiple sellers, set up a rotation so that the leads get distributed evenly and all sellers are given equal opportunity to close business. Set up a conflict resolution process so that if there are any sticking points it is clear to all parties how distribution decisions will be made. 


This is a very deep and detailed topic, which is why there are so many books written on it. Here are a couple of suggestions to keep in mind. For business development people, only pay a bonus or commission when the lead turns into a paying customer. Giving business development people bonuses based merely on the number of leads forwarded will get you the right number of leads each month but will not ensure you get the right quality.

For salespeople, only pay one person commission per sale. In my role as a Fractional Vice President of Sales, I have seen companies that will pay commissions to multiple parties if one seller helps another. This becomes extremely problematic down the line, especially around the incidence of follow-up. Ultimately duplicate commission is expensive to the organization and can create resentment between salespeople. Avoid it at all costs.

I’ve also seen some companies implement bonuses based on team sales performance. I have yet to see this be anything other than a bonus for the salespeople who don’t work as hard as the top performers. Again, this is expensive, and I have not seen it incentivize the type of behaviour it is trying to reward.

Legacy Prospect Ownership

With commissions on the line, salespeople will hang onto prospects tooth and nail for a surprisingly long time. When a new sales opportunity appears in the sales funnel, it’s not uncommon for another salesperson to claim, “Hey, I spoke with him two years ago – that should be my account!”. 

Set a statute of limitations clearly outlining the stage at which a prospect ceases to belong to a salesperson. Generally, this involves a requirement for meaningful customer interaction on a time-defined basis (e.g. quarterly, annually) that clearly demonstrates the salesperson has put in the work and deserves the lead. 

Legacy Customer Ownership

The same rules outlined above for legacy prospects should apply to legacy customers. Segment your customers into A-B-C-D based on annual revenue generated and review this list once a year. 

Take the D customers who have neither ordered in the last 12 months nor been contacted by sales and return them back to business development. Have them work these small accounts in search of revenue. If they find stray orders, have those be house accounts upon which there is no commission.

If a salesperson loses a D account they have not been working, and then that account places an order, they cannot try to reclaim that account down the road. Working your company’s account base in this way ensures that all past customers are given a chance to generate new revenue.

CRM Compliance

Make CRM compliance a job role requirement. It should be tied to quarterly and annual performance reviews and measured as stringently as revenue generation is for job retention. Lack of CRM compliance ties the hands of virtually every stakeholder in your company that deals with customers. Sales must be the keeper of CRM data integrity.  

These are the crucial areas to consider when creating clarity in your sales function. If you’d like to improve sales by implementing these ideas across your company, contact me to learn how I can help.

Helping Potential Buyers Navigate the Consumer Decision-Making Process

Written by Rob Malec

Many people believe that sales is the art of persuasion. This isn’t true. More accurately, it is the art of helping a potential buyer move forward in the consumer decision-making process. If the seller is persuading a would-be customer to do this, then they are pushing, not selling by helping

If you want to win loyal customers for life, the way to achieve that is by being genuinely helpful, not pushy. Do this by helping would-be buyers move forward through the stages of the consumer decision-making process.

Stages of the Consumer Decision-Making Process

‘Moving a buyer forward’ in sales can mean many things. It may refer to scheduling another meeting, an agreement to bring other relevant decision-makers to the table or granting an audience with the CEO. Whatever form it comes in, forward movement helps the buyer move toward being helped by your firm to solve a problem they have.

When it comes to purchasing decisions, buyers need to move from the Interested Stage to the Want Stage, and finally to the Need Stage.

The Interested Stage

This is where most sales start. At this stage, a buyer has some curiosity about how your products or services might be able to help them. 

The early Interest Stage is typified by buyers doing online research to learn about the product and service options which exist that may help them solve a problem. It is possible to lose buyers at this stage. However, in the current sales environment there is plenty of empirical evidence to show that website content and configuration can effectively draw buyers in and hold their attention. If your company is not successful in doing this, have a look at your web design and digital marketing fundamentals. 

The late Interest Stage is where your front-line sales team comes in. By this point, potential buyers have narrowed down their options to a list between two and four and are trying to get down to the one or two that are the best fit. Arm your team with value-based sales questions to help guide the buyer through this stage. These questions should help in understanding three things:

  • the buyer’s current state
  • their problems and pain points
  • their vision of what an improved situation will look like for them (their gains)

Working through these questions helps them clarify where they are, why they are stuck and where they want to get to. Having this clear in their mind sets the stage for your sales team to help them forward. 

 The most efficient deployment of resources for a company is to have lower-paid business development staff fielding inbound inquiries. Given the conversion rate from bona fide inquiry to next-stage conversation is typically somewhere between 25 and 50 percent, having a high-priced salesperson field these inquiries is not an efficient use of resources. This salesperson’s efforts would be better spent helping later-stage buyers and closing deals. Have a clear process map that identifies the exact point at which the business development person should hand off the buyer to the salesperson.

The Want Stage

Potential buyers in the Want Stage have whittled down their choices and are deciding between one or two options (maybe three). This is where you want your seasoned salespeople to take over.

In this stage, more technical questions will arise that will need detailed answers to carry them forward in their decision-making process. This complexity requires strong product knowledge and feature application expertise on the part of your sellers.

The Need Stage

At this point, the buyer is down to one or two options and wants to firmly decide on the best one for their needs. It is crucial to use values-based questions in this part of the sale to help buyers make their decision.

Work with them to recognize the value in business terms that they will get from choosing your company. Go a step further and quantify that value to help them understand the business case for choosing you. This means being aware of the potential positive impact on their top line, middle line, and bottom line will help make your case in terms of dollars and cents. Being able to highlight the positive impact your product or service could have on their processes by saving time and simplifying will further cement that going with your company is the best option.

The Interest-Want-Need path of the consumer decision-making process is universal. However, each industry comes with its specific considerations. Work with both your marketing and sales teams to inventory this flow so that you can set up your new customer acquisition systems to map to it in the most effective way possible.

Regardless of the industry, selling by helping starts with having a genuine conversation with your potential buyers. I outline how to master the conversational sales method in my book, Sell More by Selling Less. This method, combined with the tips discussed above, will help you beat your sales targets predictably.

As with all things sales, there is a great deal of nuance around how to navigate the Interest-Want-Need path for your company. If you’d like some help thinking through how this applies to your business, feel free to contact me.

How to Deepen and Broaden Your Customer Relationships

Written by Rob Malec

Often in sales, you communicate with one individual within the buyer’s organization to get deals done. But if any of your client relationships hinge on a single point of contact at the firm, you’re putting your business at risk. In this scenario, you are in an unstable arrangement; one wrong move and that customer (and all the associated revenue) goes away. That’s why you need to build a strong network of customer relationships within your current client base to future-proof your business.

3 Wide and 3 Deep: A Model for Expanding Customer Relationships

When you have a 3 wide and 3 deep contact network [three contacts within each of three different departments] for each client, you can rest easy knowing you have stable business. This way if a key decision-maker leaves the company, you still have two other contacts to fall back on as you build a relationship with the incumbent. The bonus is that if one of those contacts gets promoted, your company goes along for the ride with them. If you have a great customer relationship with the contact who is leaving, you may even get introduced to a potential new client at their new company.

Deepening the connection within your client’s company is one part of the equation. The other is to deepen their connection with your company. Having multiple people from your company connected to multiple people within the buyer’s company allows for greater communication and bridge-building. 

These two things are the currency of excellent customer relationships. Cultivating multiple connections means that if one of your salespeople leaves, taking clients with them will be much more difficult.  The rule of thumb here is that the primary relationship should be company to company, rather than salesperson to buyer.

How to Ensure a 3 Wide and 3 Deep Contact Network With Your Clients

Sometimes achieving a 3 wide and 3 deep contact network with a client happens organically over the years. As with all things business development, relying on an organic process or the passage of time is not a prudent way to deepen your client contact base.  In my role as a Fractional VP Sales, it’s been my experience that purposeful connection building is the most efficient and effective path to positively influencing client retention. So how then do you increase the client connections?

Have Your Primary Contact Introduce You to Others in the Company

Adding client connections can be done by having your main contact escort you up or down the organizational chart or to departments other than the one you typically work with to establish new customer relationships.

If you and your clients are regularly conducting business, then opportunities to meet other people within their organization will come about regularly. When a client contact says, “Let me speak to my boss/counterpart”, take the opportunity to suggest a meeting for the three of you instead. This type of interaction will not only facilitate contact-creating opportunities but also likely help spur decision-making around the issue at hand and get to the next steps more smoothly.

Schedule Regular Customer Business Review Meetings

If you don’t interact with your client connections as a daily course of doing business, then instituting regular Customer Business Review meetings with your large and medium clients is a good way to facilitate introductions and new customer relationships. 

Suggesting “Senior Executive-to-Senior Executive” meetings brings people together who otherwise might not have an occasion to meet. Such interactions invariably lead to the discovery of synergies and new and better ways to work together.

Leverage Your Current Customer Relationships to Make New Connections

Asking current customers for connections to their suppliers is another way to deepen your Rolodex. If you have a trusted relationship, your client will likely be open to making such a connection. If you have a long-standing and trusted relationship, your client might even introduce you to their customers.

Discussing how to establish 3 wide and 3 deep connections is something I do regularly in my role as a sales coach. As with all things, there is a great deal of nuance around building a more stable client base. Feel free to reach out at [email protected] if you would like to discuss your situation and the specifics of how to implement this in your business.