Timing is everything, right? Here I am, smack in the middle of an extended riff on sales, and the Herald considerately decides to go with my theme… imitation is after all, the sincerest form of flattery…..
Here’s another insight on the same theme – this time from Steve Waterhouse, out of the US’ Waterhouse Group. You can double (yes, double!) your sales just by….
Picking up the phone and calling your old customers
Steve even offers a series of questions you can use to break the ice, especially valuable if it’s been a while since you touched base:
1, What has changed since we last worked together?
2, What is going on?
3, What is new?
4, How are you?
5, What else?
7, What do you want to accomplish?
8, What are your struggles?
And after that? Just shut up and listen.
A study from Marketing Metrics gives some insight into why reaching out to old customers can be so successful. The chances of winning back an old customer run at 20%-40%, Stack that up against a 5%-%20 chance of converting a prospect into a customer and you see why it’s such low hanging fruit.
Not only that Forrester tells us that it costs Acquiring new customers can cost five times more than satisfying and retaining current customers
I can think of two other reasons why old customers can be your best new friends:
- No one likes cold calling – these customers are ‘friendlies’
- Approaching with questions (and with your knowledge of their existing business) positions you as an advocate and trusted advisor
That’s the thing I like most about Waterhouse’s advice. It frames your call as focusing on your old client’s business, not yours. And you are listening, not selling. Those are powerful motivators for your customer to re-engage.
Missing though is your trigger. If you are just listening, what is your “reason” to call? Next week I want to give you a few potential reasons to get the call started.
In conclusion – someone gave me an old chestnut last week… showing up is half the battle. In the world of sales it’s not that different – following up is half the battle!