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You can fix disappointment. You can overcome customer dissatisfaction. You can bounce back from declining customer spend. You can even turn disillusionment into delight. But when the customer divorces you, it's much messier. Lost revenue, no referrals, bad reviews, cash flow challenges, sales turnover, etc. It can get ugly. 

Why are we waiting to find out where we stand with our customers? Delaying can be disastrous. Don't pause contacting your customers during the pandemic. 

Years ago, a large company had me put together a program for their "Advantage" customers (being defined by the top 200 in revenue spend). The number one complaint of their customers was that "my rep only contacts me when they want to sell something." Simple fix. Serve first. Sell second. 

Here are 3 P's that will help you retain (and gain!) more revenue:

1. Be proactive. 

Good customer experiences deliver big and predictable ROI. On average, happy customers tell nine friends about their experience. So, send out short surveys post-sale. Find out your net promoter score. Pick up the phone and poll your customer base. Provide post-sale training of how to best use your products. Customer maintenance matters. At all costs, avoid like the plague, doing too little, too late, when it comes to customer care. 

2. Preempt problems.

Ivan Andrevich Krylov in 1814, wrote a fable entitled "The Inquisitive Man" which tells of a man who goes to a museum and notices all kinds of tiny things but fails to notice an elephant. Thus, the phrase was born. Wikipedia defines the phrase "the elephant in the room" as a "metaphorical idiom for an obvious risk or problem no one wants to discuss, or a condition of groupthink no one wants to challenge." 

A lot of accounts are indeed lost because of poor customer experience. However, it's also true that a lot of accounts are lost because of things that never get discussed post-sale. Failure to follow up on the sale is the most obvious omission. 

A rare trait of top account managers is they do what so few others are willing to do. They talk about the sales/product elephant/s in the room. They tactfully create conflict to gain true understanding and agreement of issues. They raise the risks that are obviously in the room. They purposely point out potential problems. If there is a challenge others refuse to confront, they go there. They're not arrogant. But they're not afraid to be brutally blunt if doing so has a positive purpose. They are concerned about what is being said, but equally aware of things not being discussed. 

3. Be predictable. 

The cadence of your customer communication needs to be consistent. Consistency creates comfort. If you have a monthly newsletter, don't miss publishing it. If you commit to monthly business reviews, then be reliable. Space out your new and additional selling proposals and propositions. Your contact and calls should be valued, not sent to voicemail. This can happen when the customer relationship (not revenue) is at the heart of your business habits. 

Following the 3 P's of customer care will put you in a position where the well is full of sales water. Because, when the well is dry, we find out the price of water. 

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Topics: #accountmanagement, salesmanagement, residual revenue

Dan Whitfield

Written by Dan Whitfield

Dan is dedicated to "coaching up" small business owners and leaders of growth-oriented sales organizations. His goal is to help you get where you want to go. Faster.