Businesses have forgotten about—or perhaps never fully realized—the power that existing customers and clients can wield. The allure of new customers has hidden the power of these customers from view.

  • Your current customers have the power to decide whether to continue doing business with you.
  • If they do continue, they have the power to determine how much money to spend with you.
  • They also have the power of word of mouth to share with others what they think about you.

Lately, most of the talk has been focused on that last power— customer word of mouth—especially in the social media realm. And make no mistake, it is important. However, a business that wants to fully unlock the hidden power of its customers should treat the three “powers” listed as equally important. Customers can't speak highly of your company in an authentic way if they are no longer your customers!

You have a golden opportunity to grow your business through each of your existing customers, with one or more of the following results:

1. You gain additional ongoing business from each customer (the relationship lasts longer).

2. You gain additional business from each customer (up-sell or cross-sell).

3. You gain new business from others they bring to your company.

Let's begin by looking at three potential states for your business relationship with existing customers—business is growing, business is coasting, and business is shrinking—and examine what each state looks like. What are its ...

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