While most organizations are laser-focused on attracting new customers, revisiting old leads and reconnecting with lost customers should be a part of every business strategy. Do not let your past relationships go to waste or sweep your long-forgotten contacts under the rug. Let us assure you that a little reminder or a quick follow-up call can do wonders for your business, help you achieve extra sales and gain momentum.
Unfortunately, some organizations can have tunnel vision. They forget about lost customers, and as a result, miss tremendous opportunities to grow and expand. In fact, old customers can be your best source of growth.
Dealing with old or existing clients is easier than initiating new relationships — there are fewer steps in the process, and many ways to benefit from existing relationships.
The cost of re-acquiring the former customer can be substantially lower than the cost of getting new leads. You don’t need to establish your reputation from square one, prove your worth, or explain the basics of your products or services. You have done it before, and the customer is already somewhat educated. If you came up with a new use for an old product or added a new feature, the old customer might be willing to try it without questioning your integrity (provided they had a pleasant experience with you in the past). Also, existing or previous customers can be an excellent source of referrals. Rather than allocating massive resources to generating new leads, sales professionals should put more effort into reactivating dormant accounts and reigniting the “spark.”
Here are a few simple yet crucial suggestions on how to win your customers back and boost your profits.
1. Revisit the old base before you focus on acquiring new leads
Without a doubt, your old customers can be a valuable source of revenue. The reason is simple. They are familiar with your business and your practices, and once they bought from you in the past, they are more likely to purchase from you again in the future.
If you keep good records of all your customers, you should be aware of their buying habits and use that data during your follow-up efforts. If you don’t have a reliable system in place to manage and store all your customer information, you need to set it up immediately, which will help you stay on top of things in the future and reignite your professional relationships.
2. Find out why the customer walked away
When a relationship ends, it is critical to find out what happened. Why did the customer choose to walk away or reach out to one of your competitors? Try to evaluate the situation from the customer’s perspective.
Was it slow delivery that prompted them to sever their ties with you? Is it possible that poor customer service or inflexible prices were the core of the problem? Perhaps, they just didn’t like the sales representative assigned to the account…
If you wish to resume collaboration, you need clear-cut answers to these questions, before finding ways to fix the problem. Make sure you listen carefully, without interrupting or getting defensive. If you are unclear on any point the customer is trying to make, don’t be afraid to ask for a clarification. You may even send them a customer satisfaction survey, listing a few specific questions about their experience with your organization and your products/services.
3. Come up with a great offer
In order to generate some interest and encourage your contacts to purchase from you again, you may want to offer a discount or additional benefits to go with it. Have you considered offering a complimentary assessment of their situation and needs? How about sending them a free white paper or a free report sharing specific insights about your products/services and explaining how your collaboration might affect their profits?
Perhaps, you should offer something new – an upgraded product, additional features/nuances or mention a revised customer policy that will make it easier to do business with your team.
Smart sales professionals know that their earnings largely depend on up-sells, cross-sells and overall lead conversion rates.
Bottom Line: You may not always be able to bring the customer back, but revisiting the old leads is worth the effort. If something went wrong, you need to do everything in your power to fix the problem and restore your reputation. Always remember: in business, the word gets around fast. Therefore, turning an unhappy customer into a happy one will lead to better reviews, enhanced reputation, and bigger profits.