The Easiest Way to Rapidly Boost Your Business

Yesterday an old customer called in on us. We haven’t worked with the customer in over a year and yet, out of the blue, he made my day by giving us a contract for more work.

It got me thinking about the value of old customers and how much cheaper and easier it is to reactivate old leads than start with brand new people – especially if you once had a good relationship with them.

Before you go chasing old contacts, do your homework. You need to find out why they stopped buying from you and apply that knowledge to regain their custom. Establish a connection with them before trying to sell to them again.

If you don’t already have a system that keeps a record of customers’ buying behaviour, set one up. It doesn’t have to be complex – a spreadsheet or simply a piece of paper is enough to record their basic buying habits.

Just contact them to ask how things are going. The key thing is to get an answer to the question: ‘Why aren’t you dealing with us?’

Consider whether your product or service is:

  • no longer necessary
  • too expensive
  • unsatisfactory
  • beaten by a competitive offer

If an old customer is short of money, it’s useful to know because you might be able to help through flexible credit terms. Alternatively, they might be dissatisfied with the customer service they received or have found a better deal elsewhere. However, you might be able to show them you have improved your customer service or are offering substantial discounts.

Keep in touch with old customers and make them feel valued. Sending out friendly emails or a newsletter to old customers could lead to renewed custom. Perhaps offer them a special loyalty deal. You could even consider sending out a short survey (but make it worth their while by giving them an incentive to take part).

If you have no luck the first time, contact them every few months. Your competitor may disappoint them, or they may revise their budget or strategy. Customers’ needs change. There is no reason to write them off forever.

Raglan Tribe
 

Raglan is passionate about the process of introducing new blockbuster products to the world. After a 20 year corporate career managing product development portfolios in aerospace, automotive and financial companies he set up his own innovation company - Mindsheet Ltd. Recent projects have been delivered to BAE Systems, Cobham, Finmeccanica, De La Rue, Toyota, Hyundai, Siemens, Delphi Automotive, MoD, Transport for London, North Star Equities and ITI Techmedia.

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