Customer Retention

Make rejection a thing of the past

When you work in sales, it sometimes feels like rejection is part of the deal. When you call dozens of people every month, you generally can't expect all of them to be on board with the product or service that you're selling. But if you feel like you're striking out more often than you're closing deals, there might be something you can do turn things around. That's right – if you thought getting rejected was just a part of the sales profession, it's time to think again. While you may never be able to sell to everyone you speak to, you can dramatically up your chances of closing a sale by avoiding certain behaviors that turn prospects off of your products and services. There are two ways to approach sales: by focusing on your product and by focusing on the prospect. The former will turn your prospects off, while the latter will keep them intrigued – and here's why.

If you focus too hard on convincing someone to buy from you, you begin to sound disingenuous – no matter how pure your actual motives may be. No one likes to pushed into making a purchase, which is why you need to be careful not to get overeager or forget about the prospect's concerns and questions. Remember: Selling isn't about moving, it's about finding a product that's a suitable match to someone's needs and desires. When you put prospects first, they'll be more apt to trust, respect and just flat-out like you – which will put you in their good graces, whether or not they decide to buy from you.

Of course, not every prospect you talk to is going to need the product you're selling – and that's all right. If you're honest with them, they'll walk away from the interaction knowing that you're a trustworthy resource to whom they can turn at a later date, should they ever develop a use for what you're offering. Both of you leave the conversation with your relationship in tact and the possibility of a future meet-up remains open.

After all, closing sales starts with opening relationships. When you create lasting bonds with prospects, you don't just make a sale today – you create the possibility and opportunity to make more money in the future.

Salespeople who put their prospects ahead of their quotas keep their dignity and integrity intact. Those who focus too hard on pushing a sale, even when it's not the right fit, are the ones who end up experiencing rejection.


Customer Retention in tough times

No doubt as the recession takes hold companies are at risk to lose more customers than new ones coming in.  The problem:  If you don’t invest in keeping and developing your existing clients – especially in tough times – then it’s more than likely that your business will decline.

You’re no doubt familiar with the mantra that states that it costs about 5 times more to bring in a new customer than to sell to existing customers. 

So the question is what are you doing to communicate with your customers?  Do you have a structured customer development program to up-sell, cross-sell and above all manage your relationships in such a way to make sure these customers – whom you’ve already spent a lot of money acquiring – from walking?

Here are some ideas you may want to focus on:

  • Establish a systematic, formal process to cultivate and grow high potential accounts
  • Create a schedule to “touch” key accounts regularly
    • Build variable schedule based upon account potential (not current value of the relationship)
  • Develop a strategy to manage marginal accounts ( those that cannot be effectively managed by the sales force)
    • Outsource is one way to go
  • Raise awareness of new products and services
  • Under promise – over deliver
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