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Expanding and Extending Business with Existing Clients


Mario was well ahead of his monthly quota, so he was surprised when Jane, his sales manager, asked him to set a higher sales target for the quarter.

During their meeting, Mario smiled and said, "I thought I'd get a gold medal after the good month I just had - not a higher target!"

"You know what they say about 'good' being the enemy of 'great,'" Jane answered, smiling back. And what I'm proposing is well within your reach. In fact, if it makes sense to you, I think you'll find it a lot easier than hitting the monthly target you just hit."

"I'm intrigued," Mario said. "What have you got in mind?"

What Jane had in mind was a modest additional target for the month ahead that was unlike any goal she and Mario had previously agreed on. "What I am suggesting," she explained, "is that you bring in 15% more revenue over the next month, with all of that revenue coming exclusively from your current customer base."

Mario said, "I really don't want to rock the boat with any of these accounts. Suppose I don't know whether they're in the market for expanding or extending what we do with them. Then what?"

"Simple," Jane said. "You ask!"


It's been said that the easiest person to whom to sell something is the person to whom you've already sold something.

Existing customers are not only sources for referrals, but may also be "prospects" for additional business. Look for ways to expand the business you are currently conducting with them. Are there complementary products or services to the ones you currently provide? Are there upgrades or add-ons they should consider?

Also, look for ways to extend the business you're doing with your existing clients. Are there other departments or divisions within the company with whom to do business? Are there parent or sister companies you should be seeking out? Don't overlook opportunities to ask for internal referrals.

For each primary product or service you offer, you can usually identify one or more supplementary or complementary products you could/should offer. Each of these represents potential additional "wallet share" with your current customer base!


When speaking to your current clients about this, you can frame your "expansion/extension" questions around a beneficial outcome for the client. What should be implicit in your question is the answer to your customer's inevitable question, "What's in it for me?" Here are some examples, with the answer to the question, "what's in it for me" underlined.

Expansion Question:

Mary, now that the training for your marketing people is in place, would it make sense to explore what we can do to help your customer support people create a better experience for your customers?

Extension Question:

Tom, now that we have your Westbrook warehouse squared away, I was thinking it might make sense to look at the Ellis warehouse to determine if there's a way to improve inventory handling efficiency there as well. What do you think? You have nothing to lose by asking questions like this - and everything to gain. Practice them...then use them!

That's what Mario did, at Jane's suggestion, with all ten of his largest clients. He set meetings with each and ended up securing additional business from six of those clients within the next sixty days. As a result, he easily hit the new revenue target he and Jane had set!