The easiest sale in the world?

Lauren and I are trying to be a bit healthier at the moment.

I'm sure we're not the only new parents who compensated for the lack of sleep during the first few months of Florence's life by eating rubbish.

We've done pretty well over the last 6 weeks - eating more of the right foods and less of the wrong ones - but we've also tried to increase our water consumption.

I got the barn early this morning and went to fill my Jedz bottle out of the water cooler when disaster struck.

We were out of water.

The water cooler's been here for as long as I can remember and, besides the little man who comes out every once in a while to pour some chemicals into it, it's remained unchanged.

There has always been a 22-litre water drum sat on top, with some water in it.

In fact, I don't think we've run out of water for at least three years.

Now, don't get me wrong.

It's not that we're tremendously organised when it comes to ordering water drums. We've never had a big stock of them either.

But, every few weeks without fail, we get a call from Angel Springs who provide our water.

Whoever takes the call will look over to where the water bottles normally sit and relay the number of bottles there to the caller.

To which the caller will say something like:

"Great, based on your average consumption you'll want another six to get you through until our next delivery run. Shall we drop them off next week?

It's probably the easiest sale in the world.

They call up, check we need more water, bill us, and add it to their round.

It's painfully simple, but there are still a few elements of the strategy that are worthy of consideration for your business:

#1. Ask for the sale.

You'll see lots of businesses overcomplicating sales.

The emergency plumber who'll try everything to get you to download their '6 Ways to Find a Reliable Plumber' ebook, when all you want to do is speak to them to see if they can stop the water leaking on to your kitchen table from the shower upstairs.

Now, some businesses do warrant lengthy sales cycles.

For example, very few people are going to spend £10,000 on any kind of consulting without having done plenty of research and building a relationship first.

But sometimes you just need to ask for the sale, and that's what these guys do.

#2. Understand your customer's buying patterns.

I'll be honest, I haven't got a clue how quickly we get through 22 litres of water.

If the impetus was on me to select the quantity, I'd definitely end up ordering too many or too few.

That's why Angel Springs are smart for monitoring our usage and telling us how many we'll need.

They might have a clever bit of software that tracks this, or they might just guestimate, but it reduces uncertainty and helps to secure the sale.

#3. Frictionless transaction.

If ordering more water meant finding a credit card or signing some paperwork, we'd have all been drinking tap water for three years.

But it doesn't. It's a simple, "yes please", and the water's on its way.

They'll have taken card details at some point, and we'll get an invoice through, but we don't have to do any work for them to take the money.

But do you know the best thing about this whole sales process?

They're selling to existing customers.

Acquiring new customers is a challenge.

It's going to cost money. And it's going to require time.

But that's where the vast majority of businesses expend their energy.

Trying to find new customers, rather than selling more to those who they've already worked hard to turn into buyers.

Keeping customers isn't sexy, but it is incredibly powerful.

Nick Fisher