As every business owner knows, it’s the customers who keep coming back week after week, month after month that are the real bread and butter of the business. In fact, according to research from Gartner, 80% of an organisation’s future revenue will come from just 20% of their existing clienteles. But with consumers having more choice of where to spend their money than ever before, what is the secret to customer retention and how can you ensure key customers keep coming back for more?
First impressions count
We’ve all heard the age-old expression that time is money, so whilst it can feel like prospect enquiries should be handled at the speed of light, don’t forget that first impressions always count. If a potential customer feels that you’ve gone out of your way to make time for them, they’ll appreciate that commitment. If you can build rapport from the first interaction you’ll be well on your way to building a lasting client relationship.
Stop, look, and listen
Now that you’ve made the first sale, ensure you nurture the relationship by understanding their business requirements. By using sales technology to keep tabs on customer accounts, you’ll know when Sally last ordered notebooks and you’ll know when she’s going to run out. With data like this, you’re ready to pick up the phone and make the call before she’s taken the last book off the shelf. By showing a genuine and vested interest in their business, the competition doesn’t stand a chance.
Having hundreds if not thousands of customers on your books can be overwhelming and maintaining personal relationships with every single one is nigh on impossible. But don’t panic, the right technology will give you an overview of any client account in seconds. But don’t forget to make use of this data. If it shows that a client keeps coming back, let them know that you recognise and value their loyalty by offering them personalised offers and promotions – small gestures like this won’t go unnoticed!
Be a trend setter
Guaranteeing repeat sales week on week is fantastic, but to really drive revenue you need to make the most of cross-selling and upselling opportunities. If you’ve noticed an increase in spend for a particular customer, it’s likely that businesses operating in a similar field will be after the same products. Identify trends and offer your customers what they need before they even know they need it. Be smart with your selling and you’ll more than likely have added a couple of extra items to that monthly order.
Customer retention is key to business growth. Winning new business and expanding your customers is also a necessity, but it’s your existing customers that will keep the lights on and provide the platform for growth. And the key to customer retention? Great service. If you take the time to get to know them, understand what they need, when and reward their loyalty they won’t stray. Sell smarter and you’ll soon see sales increase and revenue grow.
By Paul Black, CEO of sales-i