Sales can be a difficult, lonely place. (sob!!!)
But it is all about contacts, who you know and trust, who trusts you and knows you.
Lapsed and lost customers can still be a rich stream of new business contacts. Could even be an individual or business that doesn’t fall into either of these categories but you have an existing relationship with them.
We’re big on staying in contact with people and continuing to build relationships with them. But if a prospect decides not to do business with us, or if an existing customer leaves us, it can be a difficult, challenging time.
We believe that how we behave when we get bad news, such as when we lose a customer, will determine whether we get to do businesses with these people again in the future. Our behaviour in these instances will tell the customer a lot about us.
And…the grass isn’t always greener! Our prospect has chosen another provider or our customer may have switched providers, but they might not be satisfied with where they’ve gone. Their needs may not being met or the service may not be as good as yours.
So here’s the essence of today’s tip:
• If you miss out on business or if a customer leaves, behave with empathy, understanding and positivity. Make your customer think they’ve made the wrong decision not coming with you.
• Seek feedback as to why they’ve left you or not come with you.
• Act on the feedback.
• Stay in touch and continue to build your relationship with them. Add them to your ‘shadow portfolio’, treat them like they’re a customer even though they’re not currently a customer.
These lapsed and lost customers know you, or they know of your business, so you already have a relationship with them. So it’s likely that they’ll spend time to meet with you at the very least. You can then take the time to fully understand their needs.
Be creative in how you keep in contact with them. Don’t call them randomly, seek to add value to their business:
“I was just thinking about your business as another customer of ours has a similar challenge, here’s how we dealt with it.”
“I’ve attached a blog that we’ve written that I think is relevant for your business”.
Perhaps even refer them to a potential customer.
Take every opportunity to meet with them to understand their needs and seek to add value to their business. Sales is a long-term game, customers will buy on their own timeframe not yours, and your persistence will ultimately pay off.