Win Back Clients - A lost sales opportunity

As businesses, are often so busy chasing after new customers, that we neglect to look at what opportunities may exist with past customers we have done work for previously or infrequent purchasers. These are customers that already know us so reconnecting with them is far quicker and easier than building a new relationship. That usually means a quicker decision time and faster sales results.

Many successful Telecommunications businesses have "win back programs" and retailers have "we haven't seen you for a while" programs for their "lapsed customers". They get great results from these reconnection programs with anywhere from 20% to 30% of customers buying again. That is a great response to any marketing campaign.

1. IT'S NOT BECAUSE THEY DON'T LIKE YOU...

If you want to win back clients, it starts with changing the way you look at why they haven't bought your products and services recently. Recognise that the valuable service you provide(d) may not have solved all their problems or their circumstances mat have changed and you simply aren't aware of this.
This means so you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about re-connecting with past purchasers who have not bought from you for a while because they don't like you any more.

2. THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT ELSE YOU HAVE...

Have you ever had a client or referral partner say, "I didn't know you did that?". Often clients will buy one product or service and because this is their current problem they are simply not aware of all the other products or services you offer. Just reconnecting and making them aware of all your products or services may prompt new business opportunities.

3. SO WHERE DO YOU START WIN BACK CLIENTS?

Go to your invoice (or accounting system) and extract a list of your invoices for the last 12 months. Sort them by date, client and invoice value. Put these into a spreadsheet with the client name down the left hand side and the months across the top.

You should now be able to see "gaps" where clients have made a purchase:

▪ Under 3 months ago
▪ 3 - 6 months ago
▪ 6-12 months ago
▪ Over 12 months ago

You will now want to test each of these four groups. For example 3 months ago may be too soon to contact and over 12 months may be too late.

4. PLAN YOUR CONTACT STRATEGY

Plan how you will contact each client within each group. Will it be by?

  • Phone (a nice “personal” touch

  • Mail (a letter really stands out these days)

  • Email (do a personal one not just a newsletter blast) or

  • A social media message (may not be as effective)

Tip:  Initially call 2-3 past clients from each group as a “courtesy” checking-in to make sure everything is all right with them and their business, Use this "check-in" call to find out any reasons they haven’t purchased from you as part of conversation and use this to craft your messages for the rest.

5. PREPARE YOUR COMMUNICATIONS

  • Remember the first step is about reconnecting not selling. The second step of selling will only happen if you are not pushy on the first step.

  • A great way to do this is find or develop some useful information  (a checklist, article, case study, research report, industry information or competitor marketing material) that will help them or their business and include this in your communications.

  • Update your products/services brochure and print some copies in preparation

  • Prepare key points for the phone call and have these beside you when you call

  • Have a follow-up email and product brochure ready to send out promptly

  • Prepare a letter than can be personalised and sent to them (with copies of the useful information) in small batches so you can follow up via phone

  • Prepare an initial email (with links to the useful information) and a follow-up email to send a few days later.

  • Prepare any social media messages (with links to the useful information) - these need to be short and sharp.

6. TEST AND MEASURE

Finally, test and measure the response to each of the five groups discussed above as you may find one group gives better results. For example the group who hasn't purchased for 6-12 months. Then you can diarise an automatic "reconnect" communication for any clients who have not purchased your services for over 6 months.

Kym Heffernan

Kym Heffernan

Kym works with Businesses and Professional Practices through The Marketing Strategy Company, to increase their revenues through analysing, improving and optimising their marketing and sales activities.

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