Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Three reasons your customers leave and how to stop itBy CHRISTOPHER THOMPSON
September 22. 2018 6:13PM
I have yet to come across a business that isn't constantly looking for ways to improve sales performance. In most cases, there's a constant approach to analyzing what's working and what's not and making adjustments accordingly. But one thing I've noticed is that most companies are focused very heavily on acquiring new customers that they often neglect implementing a strategy on how to best develop and grow their existing customers.
It's not a secret that it's a lot easier to sell to your existing clients than it is to close business with new ones. It's also a lot more cost effective to market to your existing clients compared to the cost of marketing to the masses and driving leads to your sales team.
So then why is it so common for companies to take their eye off the ball and lose sight of the importance of nurturing and growing the business with customers they already have? It's a long and complicated answer. Appeal to the base For companies that don't have a solid sales strategy focused on their existing customer base, they're missing out. In addition to missed sales opportunities, there's a good chance your customers are susceptible to being stolen by your competition.
I've seen it happen time and time again. A company takes the customer for granted and doesn't show them the love they deserve. Eventually, they get approached by someone else and they leave. Here are the most common reasons I've seen customers dump a company and move to their competitor. The good news is it's relatively simple and easy to fix these issues.
Not feeling appreciated
When you take your customers for granted and don't give them the attention they deserve, they recognize it quickly. Showing your customers appreciation and ensuring they fully believe that you value their business is critical. This is even truer when you're talking about your larger clients.
They should be treated and managed differently and have engagement programs that are unique to their high level of value to your business. Take a look at the top 20 percent of your accounts and do a reality check. Do you think they all feel valued and appreciated? If not, what can be done to fix that as quickly as possible?
No perceived value
If your organization is viewed as just a vendor by your clients, those partnerships will fizzle away quickly. Your customers should view you as a business partner, not a vendor. That takes time to build, but that status is something you should constantly be striving for. Take a look at the actual value you are providing your clients, aside from the regular products and services you sell them.
Are you adding value by educating them on industry trends and happenings? Do you know their business inside and out, so you're able to make suggestions to them on strategies and tactics? Is your team going above and beyond and doing things the average company wouldn't do? Creating value isn't hard, but it does take some time and brains to make it happen.
This is one of those topics that's tricky to discuss, because you never want a business partnership to be focused solely on price. However, I have seen a lot of companies increase pricing or hold back discounts based on the likelihood that the customer won't ever shop around. This is a dangerous tactic, as all it takes is one of your competitors to low ball a deal and make you look bad.
It's tough to recover from that, and there's no doubt your competition will focus on price to try and disrupt what you've worked so hard to build. Your pricing should be fair and in line, especially for your largest clients.
Christopher Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the vice president of business development at Talient Action Group in Manchester and writes Closing the Deal weekly.