“Lost” customers are the key!
Many salespeople hit the delete key on former customers and focus on new prospects, but this is a big mistake! Former customers make great future customers, so increase your sales by earning the business of customers you’ve “lost” over the years.
How can lost customers pay off? A study by Marketing Metrics shows there is a 20-40% chance of re-engaging a former customer versus only a 5-20% chance of turning a new prospect into a customer. Now is a good time to focus on former customers.
The consolidations, bankruptcy filings, and workforce reductions leave many struggling to do more with less. Maybe they didn’t need you these last few years but the new business world may create that need again.
There are HUGE opportunities for those who are ready to capture more business now. Here are a few steps you can take to revisit your “lost” customers and increase sales:
- Review your past three years of sales data. Make a list of customers who have not bought/worked with you in that time. Then for each organization note:
- When was your last contact with them?
- Do you know what/whom they are working with in lieu of you?
- On a scale of 1-10, how likely is it they would welcome contact from you again? If the score is a 5 or higher, they are a good prospect!
- What do you know about them that you can use to reconnect? History, experiences, challenges they had, people they work with, hobbies or any shared stories?
- Research your primary contact at each identified organization. Use Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, bizjojrnals.com or other search tools. Find out what he or she has been up to. Are they still with that company? In the same position?
- Review past business you did with this organization. What product/service did they use? What was their experience working with you and your company – favorable, neutral, bad? Why did they stop working with you? Do you know?
Identify whether this was a valuable customer to you and your company. Sometimes customers can be more work than the value they bring, so there’s no sense in reconnecting with a customer who drained you.
How many “lost” customers do you have in your files who have the potential to become great future customers? Let us know in the Comment section, and we’ll give you more ways to turn lost into new customers in our next post.
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