Post-Deal Management and Client Retention

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Loyalty pays big dividends in business, which is why fostering customer fidelity makes good business sense. These tips will help you increase repeat business.

Customer loyalty alone can account for 40 percent of your business revenue, according to marketing analytics company SumAll. Even better, earning that slice of revenue costs a lot less than winning new customers. You’ll spend only 25 percent of your marketing and sales budget on earning repeat business.

You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to implement a client-retention strategy. As Joe Taylor explains in an article on Small Business Computing, the following tactics can help grow your repeat business.

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Invest in a Customer Relationship Management System

A CRM system delivers the most crucial information you need to know about your customers. CRM can:

  • provide copies of delivery status notifications, service tickets, and automated order requests
  • pull data from LinkedIn and Twitter to highlight your contacts’ connections within their communities and industries
  • help you understand the type of attention each individual customer needs at any given point during your business relationship

And don’t worry about finding the perfect program. Start by getting your customer notes into a basic, inexpensive, Web-based system.

Measure Results Against Expectations

Did the deal that you brokered deliver on its promise? Measure those results and use them to project future sales. Business author Fred Reichheld recommends using a follow-up survey. Ask customers to rate their referral potential on a scale of one to 10. This removes much of the awkwardness, anger, and fear from an assessment.

Customer service expert Susan Hoekstra says that active monitoring is a way that you can show your empathy if things go wrong. Correcting problems before a customer complains increases customer satisfaction, referrals, and repeat business.

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Engage in Transition Marketing

Most customers spend the bulk of their time in the “not yet” phase of the buying cycle. Hitting them with a barrage of one-on-one sales won’t do anything to move them closer to a purchase, and it may alienate them altogether. Instead, blend marketing into your sales by using white papers, special events, and other one-to-many experiences that position your business as the solution to their current priorities.

Trusted Advisor Status

Don’t be afraid to follow up with your customers and ask about challenges they face outside of your area of expertise. Ask if you can refer them to the appropriate expert within your professional network. When you help other people solve their problems, you engender trust and loyalty.

Explain Your Post-sale Plan

Before you close the deal, let your clients know that you always follow up with customers to ensure that you’ve met their needs. No one likes taking a sales call, particularly when they’ve just signed on the dotted line. And entering the right info into your CRM will prevent you from launching into sales mode at the wrong point in your customer’s buying cycle.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of Small Business Computing. Follow Lauren on Twitter.

Adapted from 5 Post-deal Management Tactics to Growing Repeat Business by Joe Taylor at Small Business Computing. Follow Small Business Computing on Twitter.

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