We all know our client base will change. Previous clients can move to a new area, sell their business, close down, or change their priorities. Finding new business is always important – but so is keeping your previous clients.
Here are nine sales tips to keep previous clients coming back for more.
1) Provide exceptional service and support. Sounds obvious, but is very hard to do consistently. If clients believe they can’t do better elsewhere, they won’t succumb to the temptation of trying another provider.
2) Maintain your database/CRM. This can be as simple or complex as you like. Just make sure it meets the needs of your business. You must have suitable contact details, and preferably some measure of sales value for each contact. Consider how you should communicate with your clients and have those details in your database – whether that be email, mobile phone numbers, LinkedIn profile, or a good old postal address.
3) Use email or direct mail. This is your pipeline to future sales. Create regular opportunities to communicate directly with your previous clients, especially if your service or product has a long sales cycle. Keep in touch between purchase decisions.
4) Make special offers. Find ways to encourage previous clients to buy from you. Examples may be: package offers; time sensitive deals; introducing new products; pre-releasing information or products to current clients before the general public.
5) Run special events. Offer a free (or low cost) seminar to your clients on current issues. Invite complementary businesses, local business people, or relevant celebrities to present new ideas. Use breakfast meetings, lunchtime executive briefings, or evening functions. The key here is to add value for your clients, outside of their usual dealings with you.
6) Write a personal note. Get a pen and write a personal message. This could be triggered by seasonal activities, birthdays, business events, or personal circumstances. Let your clients know you are still thinking of them.
7) Ring them up. Where possible get on the phone to previous clients and have a chat. Make it brief but meaningful. Keep posted on their current projects and priorities. Seek out ways you can help. But avoid the common error of saying you’re calling just to ‘check in’ or ‘touch base’. Have a more valuable reason for them to speak with you, such as offering to share some helpful information or insights with them.
8) Promote your business. Demonstrate the value you can provide. If you have recently written a useful report, or presented a topic at a conference, or issued a press release, or conducted some research, or completed an interesting project, tell your clients about it. Don’t keep your hard work a secret.
9) Send reminders. Many businesses have the opportunity to offer ongoing services or product upgrades for previous clients. Send a reminder about servicing, maintenance, periodic reviews, or changes to relevant regulatory requirements.
Depending on how your business is structured some of these activities could be part of a marketing role, rather than a sales role. Don’t let that stop you. If you’re responsible for generating new clients and new business take the initiative and make things happen.
Photo credit: The Q Speaks