How much money do you spend on new customer acquisitions? Is that number comparable to what you spend on customer retention and win-back strategies? If not, then you may be losing a significant portion of the potential market share by not investing in the right places. Acquiring new customers can cost up to seven times more than selling to an existing customer, and existing customers are considered to be worth ten times more after the first sale (Bain & Company; White House Office of Consumer Affairs).
You should spend as much time (if not more) trying to win back former clients than attracting new ones because:
- They’ve shown an interest, need, and motivation to buy your goods or services.
- They are already aware of the brand, the service, and its benefits (unless the reason for discontinuation was because of poor service).
- You know why they left and can tailor your sales strategy to better suit their needs.
Until you understand why clients choose to discontinue your service, it will be difficult to approach them successfully. Below are the most common reasons why clients actually choose to discontinue or try a competitor’s service, even if they told you another reason.
- The service provider misinterpreted the expectations of the client.
- The service provider broke the trust of the client.
- The service provider has not upgraded their offerings to be relevant.
- The client is ignored once they sign on for service.
- The service provider does not inform the client on what results they are delivering, and what more they can do to provide exceptional service.
To win back your former clients, or avoid these same mistakes with prospective clients, you need to make a few changes to your sales process. First, you should improve your client onboarding process. Invest your own time and money in onboarding, and your clients will invest their time to become familiar with your product and the process. First impressions are crucial to client retention. If you can create a fantastic first experience with your clients, they will likely invest more in their relationship with you.
Follow up with them in the first week or first month to see if they are happy and how you can make their experience better. If they are happy with your current work, you can talk about what else you can do to add value. But before you move too soon into upselling, you should ensure the client is 100 percent happy with your company.
Any B2B business is dealing with high-stakes customer interactions. Try to anticipate issues your clients may have, and be prepared to solve them before they happen. You want to minimize the amount of support calls your clients will need to make, and if there is an issue, take care of it personally. No B2B client wants to think their issue is being taken care of by an outsourced technician or service rep. They want to talk to the people they know.
In the end, the more you put into client retention, the more value you’ll receive from current clients. Time is never wasted ensuring your clients are educated, enthused about your service, and inclined to purchase again.