Do you view sales as the way that you get a new client – and then it’s over? If so, I invite you to adjust that thought process a bit and ask yourself, what are you doing to utilize sales tactics to not only bring in, but retain clients?
The key to retaining your clients is to play a long game – and make sales a continual part of that effort. I’ve seen some entrepreneurs get really good at selling from the stage, or having high pressure one-on-one sales conversations, but then have a crazy high attrition or non-renewal rate because these types of sales tactics are not enough to make a client stick around. These are tactics to “win” the sale and that is just playing the short game. Client retention comes through not just getting good at one conversation, but at delivering on the promised service.
When I started to grow my business, I decided I wanted ALL my sales and marketing tactics to be based on adding value through service literally every step of the way. For me, that means my company’s marketing is education based and cultivates prospects by helping them get to the point where they are ready to hire me. I do this by making sure I provide value in the form of sales and marketing webinars, hosting a podcast, and by sharing content that is relevant to other business owners and entrepreneurs. These steps are taken well before charging anyone for anything.
When it comes to having a sales conversation, mine are designed in a way that even if prospects say no, (nope, not everyone says yes!) they will still walk away from the conversation knowing something about themselves or their business that they didn’t before. By deciding ahead of time that “pitching” is not the goal of the conversation, I’m no longer attached to “winning” as the outcome. The goal of the conversation is to add value by being of service, which is something I naturally do. Since I know I’ll always be able to deliver on this, I’ll likely not only make the sale, but also retain the client.
Since good sales conversations aren’t about you, the seller, take yourself out of the equation and focus on the client. This changes the entire energy of the conversation. You never want to get to the point where either of you feel like you are pushing a sale down their throat. Chasing the client instead of understanding and supplying their needs is the fastest way to lose them.
It comes down to a singular concept. What happens when you chase someone? They run away! This is just as true in the business world.
Let’s be honest, chasing someone takes a lot more energy than simply having a nice conversation where you discover the needs and wants of your potential client, and how you can be of service to them.
And then finally – what actions are you taking during the client fulfillment portion of your business to retain your clients and make them raving fans? The keys to successful sales conversations (making it all about them not you AND being of service) are also the keys to successful client fulfillment and client retention!
Don’t worry if just thinking about all of this is overwhelming. Believe me, I’ve been there, and the best way to overcome those feelings is by getting out of your head and doing something, even if it is not the “perfect thing.” Don’t stress about the outcome when you aren’t at that point yet. Just keep in mind that if you don’t start off with the proper sales tactics, you might be able to convince a client to hire you, but you won’t be able to convince them to stay. At no point is a client going to appreciate the hard sell.
Your goal should be consistent growth, and you’re never going to reach your numbers if you aren’t building the proper foundation and executing a good delivery.
Sales has more than one part. You need to attract people, have sales conversations, and hold the sales. It’s totally normal in most businesses to lose some clients over time, because there is always retention attrition. That happens through no fault of your own, that’s a fact of life, but if it becomes a theme, you need to pay attention to your sales process to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.
Just remember, if you focus on finding out how you can help the client, you’ll cultivate a long-lasting relationship and establish a sales process that brings you joy instead of distress.