Unfortunately, many sales organizations focus almost exclusively on generating and converting new leads and barely devote any time or energy to retaining the customers they already have. Customer retention involves a less flashy skill set than acquisition, but has an immensely high ROI and can be the most beneficial thing you do for your sales business. Here are 7 key tactics to keep them coming back for more.
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Research has shown that it is up to 25 times more expensive to acquire new customers than to keep previous buyers coming back for more. There is no doubt that retaining customers is one of the most effective things you can do to boost your company’s revenue.
Customer retention is often a very effective source of new business. Repeat customers are much more likely to refer you to new prospects, and referrals are the most effective publicity you can get. They are also more likely to provide helpful services like testimonials.
Loyal customers often become the leading sources of revenue and some of the most valuable assets for sales companies. Once you are able to get a client to buy a few times and follow the steps below to build loyalty, you often end up with a customer for life. You should try to achieve this for every customer you sell to!
The key to retaining customers in sales is building a relationship founded on mutual trust. This involves consistently delivering and showing your prospects you can live up to your promises. It also requires being upfront and authentic, rather than using manipulative tactics to get the sale. You can convey authenticity by not making inflated claims about your product, and focusing on how you can help your prospects to achieve their goals and resolve their pain points.
An essential aspect of holding onto customers is to regularly keep in touch with them and follow up frequently and promptly. Persistence is one of the most important elements of sales, and this applies to customer retention as well as acquisition. Especially if you already have a customer locked down, you shouldn’t be afraid to follow up and keep contacting them. Fear of rejection is one of the most important things to overcome in sales.
Aside from the reluctance to make repeat contact, salespeople are often so busy and overwhelmed that they forget to follow up with customers, or by the time they do the memory is less fresh in the buyer’s mind and it is too late. Therefore, it can be helpful to set a calendar or schedule with regular reminders to check in on and follow up with established customers.
The purpose of follow-ups should primarily be to establish a solid, trust-based working relationship with your clients. You can do this by continuing to provide value after the sale has been made, perhaps by offering freebies or information. Not all of your follow-ups have to lead directly to a transaction, but eventually, you should include a call to action in your emails or calls to ensure you gain revenue by creating repeat customers.
As discussed above, accountability is a huge component of building trust, and this means showing you can hold yourself accountable even when you make mistakes. In a long-term relationship with a customer, the likelihood that you will get something wrong, however minor, at some point is quite high. In these situations, many salespeople try to minimize the error or hope it flies under the radar. Sometimes it does, but often the prospect finds out and this undermines the trust they have built.
Owning up promptly and preemptively to mistakes, however minor, is a great way to gain trust and stand out from the competition, as so few people do this. You can turn your minor slip-ups into an opportunity to showcase your integrity and authenticity and make the customer more comfortable doing long-term business, as well as more likely to refer you to new business.
Never forget that the person sitting across the table or on the phone with you is… well, a person! You should always be aiming to create a personal connection and deal with your prospects on a human basis. This requires reading the room and determining how willing your customer is to relate on a more personal level.
A powerful way to create a lasting relationship with your customers is to get them excited about a common purpose or shared vision. Instead of a transaction, you should frame your interactions as a way to build something, and work towards a vision, whether that is a better future for your customer’s company or something more specific you are trying to achieve. It is important that your customer feels that you are working together in a common interest, rather than trying to get something from each other. You can create this sense of a shared vision through storytelling and framing their purchase as a journey, which, as mentioned in other blog posts, is one of the most powerful ways to appeal to your customers on an emotional level.
Cultivating relationships is a very important skill set in sales. You should view your customer relationships as an investment that becomes more valuable and important as time goes on. This means customer loyalty is something you need to maintain by contributing time and resources on an ongoing basis. A great way to stand out and cement customer loyalties is to provide additional help and occasional freebies, as well as take the time to check in with them on a regular basis.
Building a loyal customer base is challenging in today’s competitive, fast-paced world. But it is well worth it and has an incredibly high return on investment. With the tips we’ve provided, you can start building trust with your customers and following up regularly to help them feel heard, acknowledged when they make mistakes, build personal brands that represent their unique strengths and interests, create shared visions for what success looks like together so there are no surprises later on down the line and invest time into relationships instead of just transactions.
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