Most sales professionals spend a lot of time talking about new client acquisition strategies.  This is fine if you’re just starting up.  In fact, almost all your time starting up should be focused on new client acquisition.  However, if you have a great client base in place a majority of your time should be spent on client retention instead of new client acquisition assuming your clients are repeat buyers.

iStock_000008028257XSmallEmphasis on New Customer Acquisition

Interesting thing about focusing your attention on client retention is that it is often overlooked and very easy to do if you have a quality product a service that they value.  When a client leaves you it is often because they have not heard from you in a while or you haven’t communicated certain value aspects of your service or product in a clear way.  Reporting and checking in with people is critical if you want to maintain a long-term relationship.

All too often account managers are chasing the next New Sale and they forgot about clients are paying their bills every month.  So if they’re bringing in one New Sale but losing two existing sales they are actually running at a deficit.  It is well known that it’s easier to sell a new product to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new customer.  Lead generation is important but you have to take care of the base first.

Shift Emphasis to Automatic New Customer Acquisition

The good news is if you been around for a while and have existing customers you can spend some time and focus on automating many parts of your lead generation.  Automatic lead generation is a matter of investing some time upfront to develop your content and CRM to make it easy to sell your products to new leads.  If your website is performing well and you have a good ROI on your advertising dollars spend then you are going to find that sales do not take too much time and you can spend more time retaining customers and up selling them with new products are services.

There are several ways to improve customer retention.  Reporting can go a long way to communicate the value you are providing to the client.  Also more frequent communications can make the client few more engaged and appreciated and more likely to stay with you.  Also offering these people new products and services that are only for existing customers will make them feel special.

Getting Better Results

One of the best ways to keep customer’s  long term is to get better results for them.  So if you have a service that requires your skills maybe you need to spend more time with the client and demonstrate your value through better results instead of cash in their check and chasing the next new client.

Asking for Referrals

When you are communicating with your existing client base more frequently you’re also going to have more opportunity’s to ask for referrals.  These word of mouth referrals from your clients will produce more leads and leads that are easier to close than any of your cold marketing techniques.  So in some ways taking care of your existing clients can produce better sales as well.  The key is to feel comfortable with your clients through more frequent communications so that you can ask for referrals.

Making Referrals to Clients

On top of that, you should be making referrals to your customers as well whenever possible.  For example, I do lead generation and Internet Marketing and in several cases I’ve provided more value to my clients with referrals that I have with Internet Marketing.  In one case a referral from me between someone I met and my client turned into over $1,000,000 in business and a joint venture that was very valuable.  The Internet Marketing was fine but the referral was much more important and I was only able to do it because I knew my customer really well.

If you have an existing customer base and you are not communicating regularly with them I encourage you to use your calendar and set up times two follow up with every customer every month at least once.  Don’t ask for referrals on the first meeting but plan by the second or third follow-up to also ask for referrals assuming they are happy with your service.  If they’re not happy with your service focus on what you need to do to retain them as a client long-term and improve your services or products.  This is the road to your success if you are selling things month after month the client’s and you need them to appreciate and value what you do.  Half the time they just want to know that you care and remember that their spending money with you.  You often lose a client because you simply take your eye off the ball and chase the next new client instead of appreciate the people you’re currently working with.

But today that changes because you’re going to go back and build those relationships that are more important to you long term than any new leads can be worth.  And if you still need lead generation work with a company like Buzzoodle to develop automatic lead generation and use the Buzzoodle CRM to automate your lead follow up so that your sales are better than ever at your focuses on your current customers.  This is the formula for success for any business.