Every time you consummate that sale, each time a customer signs off on the dotted line, your next move continuously focuses on retaining that customer.
That is why it is so important to be proactive. Create your customer retention game plan long before you close a sale.
Otherwise you continue the customer retention status quo of reacting to the customer. There’s not much forethought in that tactic. You are not fooling your clients either.
A customer retention game plan starts by focusing on the specific products, processes, information and industry trends which best contribute to client success.
You learn a lot of information as you develop potential customers. Some of this information may not seem important to securing that first sale. Or so it seems.
As a result, you develop the tendency to stop listening once you think you have all the information you need to land the first sale.
Alternatively, that is the time when you need to start listening more attentively! Consider the value of simultaneously creating a set of customer retention insights at the same time you are working hard to acquire that customer.
Continue to develop your relationship with that customer. Gain greater insight into their business. In the process, the initially “unimportant” information gradually makes more sense within the context of what you are continuously learning about that customer.
Your customer retention game plan continues to evolve throughout your relationship with a customer.
Nothing is set in stone, much less a customer retention plan. Emphasize flexibility when you create and deploy your strategy.
Consider that every customer continuously responds to competitive challenges. Your own company does the same by introducing new products and services.
Ask yourself: How, when, where and why will these new offerings become more strategically appropriate to the success of your customers?
Strive to remain creative and independent, on behalf of each client. Sure, there’s the temptation to sell the products and services that your sales organization promotes through contests and bonuses.
However, keep thinking about what’s best for your customers. Compare with what your company thinks is best for their own bottom line. My advice: defer to your customer’s side please.
Continuity is key when continuously deploying a customer retention game plan.
Deploying a customer retention game plan means every aspect of your strategy is fluid and complementary. Product and service portfolios, contract terms and conditions and your own growing knowledge of your customers’ industries start to make real sense: to them and to you.
Your action plan is additive year-after-year, building on the accrued value of each prior contract’s products and services.
Deploying your customer retention game plan means you continuously think about what is critical to customer success. Customer retention strategy becomes much more than a once-a-year contract signing exercise when considered in this manner, doesn’t it?
Focus on value creation for your customer when creating and deploying a customer retention game plan.
Continuously focus on deploying your customer retention game plan. Your retention strategy will spill over into your acquisition strategy. You gradually will not feel like you are constantly shifting gears.
Instead of having two sets of behaviors – one for customer acquisition and another for customer retention – you develop a single set of business actions.
This fluid interplay between acquiring and retaining customers creates real value: for you and your appreciative customers. Client conversations naturally begin to identify new opportunities to grow the depth and breadth of your presence within each account.
How do you create and deploy your customer retention game plan? Are you continuously focused on retaining customers or do you have to continuously shift your sales gears?
Take the next steps.
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- Are you an Owner, CEO, VP, decision maker or manager? Book a brief consultation with Babette at firstname.lastname@example.org. What are you waiting for?
Babette Ten Haken is a management consultant, strategist, speaker and coach focused on customer success for customer retention in the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) ecosystem. She traverses the interface between human capital strategy for hiring and developing collaborative technical and non-technical teams. She serves manufacturing, IT and engineering intensive companies. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.
Image author: Robert Wilson. Image source: Fotolia