The year is winding down and ‘tis the season for contract renewals. Renegotiations, while at times painful, are the lifeblood of sales inventory. A returning customer is its own reward as he/she can increase your bottom line. Whether it is through advocacy, endorsements, via referrals, testimonials, or word of mouth, returning customers can often bring new business. Research shows that people trust their friends’ recommendations considerably more than any other form of advertising. Low defection rates and loyal clientele signal competency and excellent service. It reflects positively to prospective clients and makes you an attractive option when they are considering who to give their business. An unhappy customer is a costly one. In addition to the lost revenue, there is the added expense of replacing them and potential (and often irreparable) reputation damage to consider.
In sales we are wired to constantly be focused on the next sale. Make a commitment this upcoming year to make client retention an additional priority. Stay in touch, don’t forget about them. Check in with current clients several times throughout the year to make sure their needs are being met. Don’t isolate specials and deals to new and prospective customers. Show your appreciation by spreading the love to your current customers as well. Implement customer loyalty programs. Send out thank you cards and gifts. Build and maintain personal relationships with your customers. Acknowledge when they reach milestones with your company. Provide opportunities for current customers to give their feedback and utilize their suggestions in your planning. Offer them rewards for making referrals. Never stop doing the things you did to earn their business and you will keep it!