Surprising Statistics Showing Why Your Customers Stop Buying

And How Follow Up Can Save Them!

Depending on the type of business or service you may not even know if or when you lose a customer. Studies show less than 4% of your customers will tell you if they are unhappy so depending on your follow up process you may never know if you have a customer on the fence.

Here are the statistics on why businesses lose customers:

1% Die

3% Move away

5% Form other relationships

9% Leave for competitive reasons

14% Due to product dissatisfaction

68% Stop buying your product or service because of an attitude or feeling of indifference towards them by one or more persons representing the company.

 

How can follow up save the 68% of the customers leaving? It’s about preventing the attitude or feeling of indifference. The following are 4 sales follow up steps to insure you don’t lose customers and avoid the 68% trap:

  1. A simple “thank you for your business” when the sale is complete.
  2. Send thank you cards to welcome new customers or sales.
  3. Create an email thanking your customer again for their business and let them know where they can go for additional service and support if needed.
  4. Determine the customer’s next need and remind them of your company or service by email, phone, or direct mail.

 

The major point of these steps is to insure your customers feel appreciated. Customers who feel appreciated will typically not fall into the 68%. And if by chance your customer had a less than satisfactory experience in their last transaction these steps will help turn the tide back in your favor.

To learn more about creating a follow up system make sure you to read Creating a Follow Up Strategy where I discuss follow up strategies for existing customers.

Shocking Sales Statistics as It Relates to Follow Up

Truly shocking sales statistics as it relates to your  follow up process:

48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
12% of sales people make more than three contacts

2% of sales are made on the first contact
3% of sales are made on the second contact
5% of sales are made on the third contact
10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact

Creating and using a follow up system is a guaranteed way to grow your business.  In fact with less than 52% of all sales people following up with their prospects you will not only grow your business but you will stand out amongst your peers.  And remember 80% of sales are made in the fifth to twelfth contact if you are in a market with heavy competition you literally eliminate your competitors by simply following up.

To learn more about creating a follow up system make sure you to read Creating a Follow Up Strategy where I discuss follow up strategies for existing customers.

Follow Up Secret: Use Gratitude When Following Up

Following up with your prospects is one of the most important steps in the sales process.  If your prospect does not make a decision to buy or retain your services at your first meeting following up becomes the most important step.

thank-you-painted-streetThere are many ways to follow up with your prospects and one of my favorites is through gratitude and appreciation.  Before dialing, emailing or writing a note take a moment to think about your prospect and your last meeting.  Is there something you discussed in your last meeting that gave you an idea or helped you in some way?  Did you learn something new about how your product or service can help a future prospect or customer?  Did your prospect possibly give you a referral or a lead?  These are all great examples of how you can follow up with gratitude.

Think about the last time someone expressed gratitude or appreciation towards you.  Was it in person, on the phone, via email, or maybe you received an unexpected thank you card?  Think about how this small act of gratitude made you feel.  This is the same feeling you create with your prospects when you appreciate them.  This feeling creates a stronger relationship with your prospect.  By building on your relationship you are attracting your prospect to convert themselves to the sale or another referral.

Try out following up with gratitude after your next few presentations and let me know how it worked for you.  If you currently do this in your follow up process leave a comment and tell me how it is working for you.

How To Create Strategic Referral Sources and Referral Partnerships

Are referrals the life blood of your business?  Often times when I am consulting with businesses about referral marketing strategies they tell me that referrals are the top way they receive new customers.  When I follow up with follow-up-referrals-man-bull-hornmore questions about how they generate referrals I am shocked to discover many of these same businesses have no referral strategy in place.  The referrals they receive happen by chance and they have no system to encourage or increase referrals coming into their business.

If you are one of these companies that rely on new referral business you might consider creating strategic referral sources.  Strategic referral sources or referral partners are designed to create referral relationships where you and your partnering business give referrals to each other.  This may be a business in or out of your industry.  Here are a few examples:

  • Business attorneys referring Family Attorneys or Estate Planning Attorneys
  • CPA’s referring Bookkeepers
  • Dentists referring Family Photographers
  • Marketing Firms referring Social Media Firms
  • Insurance Brokers referring Financial  Planners

When meeting with possible referral sources it’s important to learn as much as you can to start the referral process.  Here are six questions you can ask your potential referral partners to insure success:

  1. Can you give me an example of your ideal client or customer?
  2. Please explain your biggest challenge in your business.
  3. Who is your best referral partner?
  4. What makes you or your company different from your competitors?
  5. Are you on Social Media?  Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter?  (make sure you connect with them)
  6. Is there anything more you would like to tell me about you or your company that might help me give you a referral?

At this point you should have everything you need to start referring this person or business.  I find the fastest way to start receiving referrals from a new referral source is to give them referrals as soon as possible.  I make it a point to seek out opportunities for them as I know the more business they receive from my network the more committed they will be to referring my business.

If you start creating referral partners as strategy you are guaranteed to grow your referral business!

Attracting New Customers and Increasing Your Referrals this Year!

Christmas, Hanukkah, and the Seasonal Parties are starting to become fond memories for most of us.  Many businesses are focused on the New Year and thinking about what to do different.  New Year Resolutions have come up in almost every conversation I have had this week with businesses owners.

moneytreeEverything from growing the business, increasing referrals, getting more involved with the community, attending more networking events, creating more systems, increasing marketing, adding more staff, and list goes on and on.  The greatest thing about all these conversations is how many businesses seem to really be thinking about what they can do different.  How they can really improve and grow their business this year.

For my businesses focus seems to be at the top of my list.  Really identifying where I need to spend my time and making sure I hold myself accountable to where my time is spent is number one for me!  I have really thought about what my highest income producing activities are for each of my businesses and where I want these businesses to go this year.  By doing this exercise I have now identified actionable items and activities which I should do each day to achieve these goals.  I am now in the process of listing these activities and creating daily, weekly, and monthly goals for each one.

Once this is complete I will have this document in front of me each day.  It will work like a check list insuring I am doing the action items and activities on a consistent basis which will lead to my desired results.

My questions for you are what are you thinking about this week?  What are you changing in your business to insure a great 2010?  Are you willing to take the steps necessary for your success?  Are you going to attend one more networking event each month this year?  Are you going to join BNI, LeTip, or you local Chamber of Commerce?  Are you going to learn more about Social Media and how to use Social Media in your business?  Are you going to follow up with every lead you receive?  Are you going to follow up with every person you meet?  Are you going to thank the customers that buy from you each month?  Are you going to create more meaningful relationships this year?

Take a moment and share with us what you are going to do to insure your success in 2010 by joining the conversation and leaving a comment!

Sending Holiday Cards to Your Customers is a Waste of Time!

Did I get your attention?  You only have a few days left to get this task done.  Are you are one of the many business owners or sales professionals who still have this task on your list?  You may even have a stack of holiday cards sitting on your desk ready to go.  But at some point in the past month or most likely many times you decided to put it off, wait until tomorrow, or maybe take care of writing and sending your holiday greeting cards over one of the past weekends.

And now you find yourself exactly where you don’t want to be, 15 days before the big holiday, no holiday greeting Holiday-cards-assortmentcards in the mail.  You have a decision to make…  Do you stop everything and send those holiday cards out or do you just forget about it?

The answer? STOP EVERYTHING AND GET IT DONE NOW! This may seem a bit crazy or even bias because you know I am a big SendOutCards user and often promote using SendOutCards on Follow Up Success.  Card sending is an important step in your follow up process and holiday card sending is almost at the top.

Here are my top three reasons why you should stop everything and send out your holiday greeting cards now:

  1. Appreciating your customers and prospects – Every single one of your customers enjoys being appreciated and the holidays is a great time to say thank you for the past business you have received.  Prospects can easily be turned into customers by simply saying thank you for learning more about you and your business while wishing for them a great holiday with family and friends.
  2. Reestablishing the business relationship – One of my goals for 2010 is to create stronger relationships with my customers and prospects.  By sending holiday cards I will reestablish past relationships that I may have let slip through the cracks.  This is important when you reach out to past customers or prospects in the New Year as you will have recent contact.
  3. Top of Mind Awareness – This is the big one!  Creating top of mind awareness with your customers and prospects when they are surrounded by their closest friends and family is an essential step in your follow up and referral strategy.  If you are top of mind with your customer or prospect they are more likely to bring you and your business up in conversation or think about you for a potential referral.

Hopefully I have encouraged you to take action!  Maybe, you have already picked up that box of holiday cards from your desk or floor and have starting filling them out.  Possibly, you have too many cards to send and feel hopeless!  If you are feeling hopeless SendOutCards would be the best gift to give yourself this holiday season!  With my help within a few hours you can have all of your holiday cards in the mail each personalized with your message.  To learn more about SendOutCards or to set up your account visit my Follow Up Tools page or contact me.  I am more than happy to help you through this process!

Whether you use SendOutCards, go buy cards from the store, or use the cards you already have, just get it done!  Stop everything and do this now!  I promise you it’s worth the time.

Do you have great business success stories from sending cards?  Please tell us all about it by leaving a comment!

Send Thanksgiving Cards to Follow Up With Your Clients!

There are many reasons to send greeting cards to your customers. General follow up thank you cards, birthday cards, customer appreciation cards, and of course holiday cards. All of these customer follow up greeting cards should be a standard marketing practice for any business.

thanksgiving-greeting-cardOne of my favorite opportunities to reach out to existing customers and create stronger relationships is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving after all is all about gratitude and what better way to show gratitude to your customers than by sending them a Thanksgiving card and letting them know how much you appreciate their business?

I truly believe in sending Thanksgiving cards to follow up with your customers and prospects. In fact I have recent memories of handwriting over 500 Thanksgiving cards to my clients not too long ago. This was a huge and exhausting task with each card containing two or three lines of personalized text. I spent well over two months completing this process! And while I was all gung-ho to send out holiday greeting cards to my clients as well… It was just not going to happen. I had all the holiday cards on my desk but could not get them completed in the two remaining weeks I had left. At the time I remember thinking there must be a better to get this done… Of course there is a better way and I discovered it about six months later. The next time I mailed Thanksgiving cards to my clients I sent 600 and did them all in about four hours instead of two months! I used an incredible system called SendOutCards and you can learn more about this process by visiting my Follow Up Tools page.

There are many reasons to send out Thanksgiving cards to your clients, prospects, and referral sources. The main one being appreciation. Everyone likes to be acknowledged and appreciated and when you do this your clients will do more business with you, prospects will start doing business with you, and your referral sources will send you even more referrals.

Now is the time! Start following up with your customers and prospects today with Thanksgiving cards!

Two Simple Follow Up Strategies for Speakers and Presenters

Two very simple follow up ideas for Speakers and Presenters.  Yes even Speakers and Presenters need to follow up!  This week I had the wonderful opportunity to speak at the Encinitas Rotary group about using Social Media to follow up and engage customers.  I have to admit the setting for this discussion was perfect, the room was right on the water with a wall of glass facing the ocean.  The room felt like the ocean was coming right in with each incoming wave!

After the discussion I had spent some time outside listening, viewing, and enjoying the beautiful day.  When I was about to leave I decided to make this short video on follow up to share with you how I will follow up with the members of this group.  Here is the video:

Two simple steps:

  • Send an email to each person thanking them for the opportunity to speak at their meeting
  • Mail each person a thank you card

As a Speaker and Presenter why would I want to take these two follow up steps?  I can think of many great reasons but I will focus on the basics.  It’s about building upon the relationship I have started.  This group just listened to me talk for an hour.  To this group I would be considered an expert or go to person in social media, follow up, and referral strategies.  The opportunity from speaking is to continue the relationship!  If I do this effectively I will naturally receive clients, referrals, and additional speaking engagements.

Are you a speaker, presenter, or trainer?  Please let me know the methods you are using to follow up with your audience by leaving a comment.

Top 10 List of Books To Help Your Clients Kickoff a Fabulous 2009

So here we find ourselves past the holiday season.   We now have a great opportunity to make a positive impression on our top clients and referral sources!  Sending books to top clients and referral sources is one of the most memorable follow up strategies I use. It’s creative, different, and is just not done enough!  The following are my Top 10 books to send to a business owner or top sales professional for 2009.  In choosing this selection I found myself thinking of the many types of clients and referral sources i have.  This selection should include a great title for any possible business owner or sales professional which may be on your list.

#1 The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino

“At last!  A book on sales and salesmanship that can be read and enjoyed by veteran and recruit alike!  I have just completed The Greatest Salesman in the World for the second time-it was too good for just one reading-and in all sincerity, I say that it is the most readable, most constructive and most useful instrument for the teaching of sales as a profession that I have ever read.” F.W.Errigo, Manager U.S. Sales Training Parke, Davis & Company

#2 Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
“At American billionaire Andrew Carnegie’s bidding, Hill studied the characteristics of these achievers and developed 15 “laws” of success intended to be applied by anybody to achieve success. Think and Grow Rich! condenses these laws further and provides the reader with 13 principles in the form of a philosophy of personal achievement.” Wikipedia

#3 Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
“Rich Dad Poor Dad is a starting point for anyone looking to gain control of their financial future.” USA Today

#4 The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
“Fascinating enough for the general reader, Gladwell’s work is a particular boon for businesspeople looking for inspiration on how to top their own ideas into popular crazes.” Publishers Weekly

#5 The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey
“An absolute must-read for aspiring business executives who want to significantly increase their personal effectiveness in the workplace and at home.  Covey has created a brilliant blueprint for both career and personal success in the new millennium.”  Douglas Conant, President and CEO, Campbell Soup Co.

#6 Tribes by Seth Godin

“Tribes is a must read for all of us.  It’s up to each one of us to lead in today’s new kind of world.”  Bill Bradley, Former U.S. senator  Tribes is one of my favorite reads of 2008!  It’s is truly inspiring, showing the value and simplicity of becoming a leader.  Keep an eye out for my future post on Tribes.

#7 Beach Money by Jordan Adler

“If you plan on building a large successful network, I recommend reading Beach Money.  Jordan’s stories are inspiring and each one has something that you can put to use immediately.”  Ivan Misner, NY Times Best-selling Author and Founder of BNI

#8 E-Myth by Michael Gerber
“The mythic and often disastrous assumption is that people who are experts regarding technical details of a product or service will also be experts at running that sort of business.  Many small business owners eventually realize that just as they had to learn the technical skills, they have to learn business growth and management skills.”  Wikipedia

#9 Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting by Lynn Grabhorn

“I can’t believe it.  In the three months since reading this, I’ve almost doubled my sales and settled a couple of long-standing problem in my marriage.  I’m recommending this book to management.” O. T., Regional Sales Manager

#10 The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss
“Stunning and amazing, from mini-retirements to outsourcing your life, it’s all here.  Whether you’re a wage slave or Fortune 500 CEO, this book will change your life!”  Phil Town, #1 New Your Times bestselling author

#11 101 Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies by Gwen Steege
Number 11 in my top 10 just to check and see if you are still reading!  Honestly the best gift and easiest way to bribe me is with homemade chocolate chip cookies!  Who can resist that?

I could have easily listed 20 more books in this top 10 so if I am missing one you think should be on the list please leave a comment with your suggestion and why you think the book should be on the list.  The more selection and recommendations the better!

In writing this post I kept thinking back to my corporate career.  During the holidays I would receive well over 20 boxes of candies from clients and vendors.  The candy made no lasting impression due to the amount I received.  A book is completely different!  If I received a book during the first few weeks of the New Year it would stand out amongst all the previous gifts.  I would remember who sent the book to me and it would positively affect our relationship.

SWOT Analysis: Exploring Your Opportunities

Last week I talked about weaknesses, following up from my post on SWOT Analysis: Simple Tool to Improve Your Business. If you missed one of these previous posts it may be best to go back and review them in order.

SWOT Analysis: Simple Tool to Improve Your Business
SWOT Analysis: Defining Your Strengths
SWOT Analysis: Acknowledging Your Weaknesses

Today I will review our discussion on Opportunities (the “O” in SWOT) as it applies to my business as well as the 15 other small and mid size companies in the exercise. The discussion on Opportunities was led by Rufino Autus, Independent Financial Planner for Autus Financial Group. Rufino started out the discussion with a brief over view of SWOT Opportunities. Opportunities are things that are external, things that are happening around you which you can capitalize on in the current business climate. The group had the following ideas to think about before our discussion insuring each person was prepared to discuss possible opportunities:

  • Where are the good opportunities facing you?
  • What trends are happening around you that your company can capitalize on?
  • What changes in technology have a positive effect on your business?
  • What changes in industry standards or government policy impact your business?
  • How can changes in social patterns, population profiles, aging consumers, and lifestyles change how you approach new customers?

Rufino then opened it up to the group for discussion asking members to share their discovered opportunities. Here is some of the discussion:

  • Kerry Klindtworth, a realtor with Keller Williams talked about how it’s a buyer’s market. It’s a great market to buy so she has changed her focus to buyers. She still loves taking listings because she is very good at selling homes but her focus is on buyers. Kerry also talked about everyone going green! With this in mind she has become a Certified Energy Specialist in the state of California. This means she can go into your home and provide you with CFL light bulbs for free from SDG&E. When she does a home inspection her appraisers do an energy audit on your home and tell you how to make your home more efficient. Kerry also talked about how one person turns 55 every 30 seconds so she is in the process of getting certified as a Senior Residential Specialist as well as getting her brokers license. We all agreed this was a great example of looking at your current opportunities and taking advantage of them.
  • Tammy Williams, a representative with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) highlighted one of her opportunities. Right now it’s the end of the fiscal year for most corporations and they are planning their budget for 2009. Now is the time to make contact with these corporations to make sure MADD is part of their budget for 2009.
  • Kraig Stahl, President of K.D. Stahl Construction Group talked about how the construction market has changed. Kraig talked about projects which used to have two or three bidders now have 12 and large building projects are slowing down dramatically. Kraig is focusing on tenant improvements, looking for companies that may be downsizing and need to change walls within an existing building or create new office spaces. Most of Kraig’s business comes from referrals, “not many people just look you up in the yellow pages”, so he is focusing on meeting new referral partners like architects, electrical engineers, and commercial brokers. Angie Swartz, founder of Six Figure Moms Club suggested using the words “we are flexible and agile” so referral sources know you are changing your businesses to adapt to the current market. Tammy added MADD is all about branding and by partnering with MADD you will set yourself apart from your competition. If you are one of those companies competing for the same customer look at ways to partner with non profits as a way to expose your brand.

So what were the opportunities I discovered? Now more than ever building relationships and following up with prospects and customers is the key to any marketing strategy. My opportunities are to help companies and sales professionals improve their relationships, creating connections with prospects who will allow me to review their follow up strategies. Through these meetings I can suggest ways to improve their strategies and help them implement new systems to capture referrals that are currently going to their competitors. So if you are reading this post and want to learn how to double your referrals in the next 90 days maybe your best next step would be simply calling me!

I found the opportunity process very positive. Hearing how the other members viewed their opportunities allowed me to explore deeper into what might be right in front of me but for some reason I was ignoring or just did not see. The power of this SWOT Analysis is amazing and I look forward to sharing the last part of this discussion next week. Our discussion for next week is Threats (the “T” in SWOT).