Getting new customers is only half the battle. Retaining them is different story - and a much more difficult one at that. But, it's also incredibly important, especially because it costs 5x as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.
After you acquire your customer and lead them to their first purchase, your job now is to retain them to turn them into full partners and brand advocates. For a sales rep, this can be an overwhelming responsibility but it's also challenging and highly rewarding if you manage to do it effectively.
Here are some tips on retaining customers in outside sales:
Be the Expert
Your clients are relying on you to be their expert. When working with them personally, they need you (because you’re the one that led them to the first purchase) to be there for any malfunction or issue.
You should be the go-to expert for your client, especially when more and more companies relying on their outside sales reps to handle everything from sales to customer service. You will build a relationship with your customer based on trust and this means that you’ll retaining them will be much easier.
You need to avoid promising too much in your original conversations with your client. If you oversell and your customer doesn't get what you promised, you risk losing your customer and ruining your relationship right then and there.
Be moderate, it's better to promise your customer the truth and have your customer delighted when you over-deliver than to have your customer disappointed later on.
Go Beyond What You Offer
In customer retention, you have to be willing to go above and beyond of what you initially offered. Whether it's being always available for your customer or handling issues quickly, your mission is to retain and retention comes only with excellent service and experience. Don't just stay at the bare minimum of your capabilities but always be on the lookout for new ways to make things easier and your customer happier.
Establish a Relationship
This starts at your first point of contact with the customer. Being kind, polite, friendly but respectful will result in building a better relationship. But that's not where it stops. To develop customer relationships further and lead your customer to the next purchase, you should call and check-in on them from time to time to share updates about your product and common areas of interest. This creates a relationship beyond purely business.
Don’t wait for your customer to contact you about updates to your product or service - contact them first. For example, if you have a new product, an upgrade for an existing product they own, or a complementary product to the product your customer already owns, you should contact your customer first. Let them know what’s new and improved. Find solutions to problems that don’t exist yet. Don't wait for issues to arise - figure out where the weak spots are and learn how to fix them before your customer needs you to.
One of the most important pillars of a great relationship is knowing how to actively listen. Focus and be attentive to your customer's needs. Don't blank out or focus on what your answer can be later on when your customer start talking. Pay attention to what they’re saying and what’s happening in the moment.
You will discover a lot of useful information from listening and your customer will feel appreciated.
Ask for Feedback
One of the best ways to retain customers is to constantly improve and upgrade. The only way to do that is to ask them what it is that they need from you or your product. Always ask for feedback - are they satisfied with you as their sales rep, what could you change to become better, are they satisfied with the product or service and how could that be better and so on.
Ask questions that will result in helpful and useful answers.
Treat your Customer Like a Partner
If you treat your customer as a partner, your customer will reward you by being loyal to your company. For instance, you could invite your customer to company events, give them special offers, allow them previews into your new products, show gestures of appreciation and so on.
Small things like this build up into partnerships over time and that kind of loyalty is essential to the brand.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Most newer sales reps will want to say that their product is the best in every product aspect, even if it’s not true. It might be tough in the beginning but be honest with your prospect. When you’re honest with your prospect, you’re establishing a truthful relationship that will encourage your customer to trust you. When they think that you’re looking out for them, they’ll be encouraged to seek advice from you and trust you when you say a new product offering would help them. This will set you apart from your competitors.
Customer retention is constant and never ends. A good relationship will last decades even if you change career trajectories. Relationship management is ever-changing so never be complacent in what you’re doing and always look for new methods of keeping your customers happy.
Author Bio: Grace Carter is an editor at Affordable Essay Writing Service and UK Writings websites. She creates writing prompts for interns, manages team of proofreaders and curates blogs. Also, Grace creates writing courses at Essay Roo service.