When I first started running the answering service, I knew that one of my main priorities was to obtain new clients…which required that I do sales. At the time, I never had any sales training. In fact, my background was in International Business Law.
Sure, I could negotiate the terms of a contract and I could assist in a merger or acquisition, but I had no idea about selling. Almost a year of structureless marketing went. Then one day I realized that what I was doing wasn’t working and I needed to change it. That day I dropped everything I was doing, drove over to the closest Barnes & Noble, and picked up a copy of Tom Hopkins’s “How to Master the Art of Selling”.
Over the course of a week, I devoured the book like a football team having a steak dinner after practice. I absorbed Tom Hopkins’s techniques like a sponge and implemented them right away. While many of the techniques did not click with me – like cold calling – many others helped me in my business. In fact, they helped me so much that I signed up for his newsletter, in case he had a tidbit to share that I missed or forgot about from the book.
Yesterday, I was pleased to open Tom Hopkins’s most recent email newsletter, which was about keeping in touch with your current clients and improving customer retention. Did you know that the average business loses 15% of their clients on an annual basis? And that the cost of gaining new business is 5 times that of keeping current clients? Like every business, we face attrition of clients every year and Tom Hopkins shares these simple basic things you can do to keep your clients:
- Tell your clients that you are grateful for their business. Say “Thank you for your business,” once every time you talk to them. You can also say “We appreciate your business” and “Your business is important to us”.
- Follow up every transaction with a thank you note.
- If they have a challenge, let them talk and then resolve the issue right away.
While many of those action items seem rather basic, it really is the smaller touches that make a huge difference in your relationship with your clients.
After digesting Tom Hopkin’s article, here are a few things I am going to change today to ensure that our clients are aware of our appreciation for their business:
- Send handwritten thank you notes as soon as they start service with us.
- Make sure we talk to each client on a quarterly basis via telephone if it is a client whom we don’t hear from often (ironic, I know).
- End every e-mail with “thank you”.
Making our clients feel amazing about working with us is important to improving customer loyalty. After all, we love working with our clients. We love being able to serve as a lifeline to their businesses so that they can increase their revenue without the stress of being glued to their telephones 24/7.
After all, in the words of Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”