We have all been there before…. A customer cancels for no apparent reason. You call them… No return call. You email them… No return email. You speculate. You wonder. You lost. So, what now? You can blame others or, you can fix the issue.
Let’s cut straight to the point…. What is your customer retention plan? As part of my ad sales training and ad sales coaching programs we spend a considerable amount of time talking through this question. Why? Because we know that it is easier to retain a customer than find a new one.
Here is the main point of this blog post. You need to work as hard to keep your customers as you did to earn their business in the first place.
To make this statement a reality you need to know how much time you spend acquiring just one customer. Let’s explore a simple customer acquisition scenario.
1. John Doe is a customer that you just lost for no apparent reason.
2. You prospected him for three months at approximately one hour per week.
3. Add in your meetings to close the deal.
4. Your total time acquiring John Doe was about 16 hours.
In the last year did you spend close to 16 hours retaining John Doe? I bet the answer is no. Just to be clear… You CAN count a certain amount of customer service time toward that 16 hours. But, how many hours did you spend on non-sales communication with John? If you only reach out to customers as the “sales rep”, you will always be seen as just a “sales rep.” Customers will be less likely to answer your calls. Customers will be less likely to return your emails. Customers will be less likely to build relationships with you on a level that is required to retain them for the long term.
Here are three things to consider when creating a customer retention program.
1. How much of your profit will you re-invest in this program? To determine this you simply need to calculate how much money you spend acquiring one new customer.
2. Who will champion this program? No champion… No success.
3. Are all customers equal in the program? Meaning… Do you offer more incentives to those that spend more with you?
4. What about customer appreciation parties or special gatherings at trade shows?
5. Do you host lunch with your customers? Or attend seminars with and for your customers?
6. Have you considered offering monthly sales or business coaching to your customers? You have a ton of expertise to share… They want it. Trust me.
7. What about a monthly conference call or webinar for your customers featuring an expert on a certain topic like social media or web design?
8. My friend Gary Whitikaer, Publisher of 417 Magazine in Springfield, MO, loves to give candles to customers.
9. What about exclusive events or retreats? Sounds expensive? Hmmm… What does replacing a customer cost?
10. VIP call in lines? Exclusive access to a human at your company when they call into your phone lines?
We could spend all day on this topic, but the important take away should be this… all companies, no matter the size, need some type of customer retention program.
So, where do you start? Open up a discussion with the sales team as a start.
Confused? No idea where you start? Call me. Let’s chat. My first 30 minutes is always free of charge.
Ryan… your sales coach.
Ryan Dohrn is an award winning sales coach and sales trainer. He is also an international motivational speaker and the author of the best selling sales book, Selling Backwards. Ryan is the President and founder of Brain Swell Media, a boutique sales training and sales coaching firm with a detailed focus on sales training and coaching for media and technology companies.
Ryan R. Dohrn
Brain Swell Media LLC
Follow him on Twitter.com/ryandohrn for daily tips and advice.