Invigorate Sales with 11 Customer Retention, Referral Tips



First and foremost, if customer loyalty is not paramount at your company it should be. Businesses lose business 70 percent of the time because customers feel taken for granted.

In this digital age with a heavy reliance on social media, the Internet is indeed important. But the No. 1 reason – at least 52 percent of the decision-making process – why people buy a product or service — is what customers think of a company’s spokesperson and sales reps.

Yes, the quality of the product is important, but for customers to really feel like they’re making a smart buying decision, they want a good rapport and to feel appreciated.

Sexy ModelThat’s the best way to turn customers into brand evangelists, especially women, who make the majority of buying decisions in a family.

It’s also true that sales and networking strategies build strong relationships.

Here are 11 customer retention and referral strategies:

1. Like a marriage, to enhance any business relationship, it helps to listen during 80-90 percent of conversations.

Women, especially, prefer salespeople who listen to their concerns.

Typically, women make 80 percent of all household-buying decisions.

In my two+ decades of human-resources training, the No. 1 complaint women have about men is that “they don’t listen.”

2. Create an interactive dialogue and invite feedback.

3. Provide the best service.

4. Don’t get defensive in the face of criticism even when the customer is wrong – simply take notes and use basic assertive techniques.

5. Be careful in all negotiations. Use the 22 dos and don’ts for successful negotiations.

Yes, the quality of the product is important, but for customers to really feel like they’re making a smart buying decision, they want a good rapport and to feel appreciated.

6. Upon receiving a compliment from a customer, ask for two referrals – the names and contact information of “two people just like you who this need great product, too.”

7. Provide added value without hurting the bottom-line.

8. Prevent buyer’s remorse by reminding the customer of the value of the purchase.

9. Say and write the magic words, thank you, at every opportunity.

10. Depending on the level of purchases, make personal contact a priority.

11. Never assume customers are forever. Remind them in subtle ways why it’s beneficial to do business with you. (See the top 11 tips for a great elevator pitch and the seven steps to higher sales.)

So if you’re losing customers, improve your odds with excellent customer-retention and referral strategies.

From the Coach’s Corner, here’s related information:

How to Best Profit: Word-of-Mouth Advertising, Customer ServiceWhen was the last time you explored options for improving your word-of-mouth opportunities? Here’s a hint: Customer service is the No. 1 key to good word-of-mouth advertising and repeat business. Here 10 tips.

11 Sales Strategies to Outsell Your Big CompetitorsBig companies have obvious advantages over small businesses. Their brands are well-known. They can afford sales training, sales-support staff and customer-relationship management software. On the other hand, there are good reasons why Cyber Monday has become big. Yes, many online customers do it to save money on sales taxes.

The Lost Art – How and Why to Use Cold-Calling for Higher SalesAre you lacking in sales? Do you get enough face time with the right prospects? Here’s how and why in-person cold calls will help you make sales.

8 Tips for Cold Calling By E-mail and TelephoneSince the advent of the digital age, cold calling went out of vogue. But in the lingering downturn – whether you’re in advertising or staffing services – cold calling has become the logical tool to use to generate clients or business customers.

Want More Revenue? Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Selling — Whether you are an established company or a startup, what you probably need most in this economic climate is a positive revenue stream. It’s possible with a higher-performing sales staff.

“Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.”

-Peter Drucker


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




How to Best Profit: Word-of-Mouth Advertising, Customer Service



When was the last time you explored options for improving your word-of-mouth opportunities? Here’s a hint: Customer service is the No. 1 key to good word-of-mouth advertising and repeat business.

My firm’s research shows that consumers usually respond favorably to marketing after receiving five positive messages. Conversely, they will divorce your company if they have five or fewer unfavorable experiences.

So we’re talking about performance and delivery. If your company fails to meet a customer’s expectations, it’s important to respond instantly with empathy and problem-solving skills.

ID-10054005 Stuart MilesIf customer-retention is an issue, it’s worth noting why: Customers start patronizing your competitors 70 percent of the time because they feel taken for granted. Most won’t warn you.

And if customers feel your service is horrible, they’ll vehemently complain and tell acquaintances about their unhappiness for years.

You might recall how Verizon learned a lesson in understanding customers from customer criticism on social media.

In the eyes of many consumers, customer service has developed a split personality. A boss is usually adamant about customer service being paramount. But the employees don’t seem to get the message.

It appears companies place too much importance on sales as a profit center while treating customer service as a cost center.

Naturally, it’s important to look at business processes and understand the emerging dynamic in consumerism. Thanks to the Internet, consumers are in charge. They can easily obtain competing information about products and services, and they blog about their experiences.

Your employees need to realize that consumers are serious about demanding service. Only then, will you be ready to develop and implement customer-service strategies for higher profits.

For your business to stand out to earn more word-of-mouth opportunies, here are ten reminders:

First impressions. Value perceptions about your customer service start within seconds of the first contact. In order of priority: Consumers psychologically evaluate your company by the quality of your people, your company image, product or service utility, convenience factors and price.

Last impressions count, too.

Dialogue techniques. Develop unique, value-selling propositions. You’ll want to establish a dialogue, but never start by asking a closed-ended question, such as: “Can I help you?” Great salespeople know an 80 /20 ratio of listening vs. speaking yields the best results. Use an open-ended question to entice the customer into talking.

When the customer leaves – whether making a purchase or not – it’s vital to thank the customer and close with a statement to prevent buyer’s remorse. But never close with this trite, over-used phrase: “Have a nice day.” Upon hearing that phrase 15 times a day, I’m tempted to respond: “Thanks, but I’ve made other plans.”

My questions are:

  1. How boring do you want your company to be in the eyes of your customers?
  2. Why would you want diminish your chances by 50 percent to make a sale?

Attitude gratitude and service. Look for opportunities to show a positive attitude. Never end meetings with customers or employees until you consider saying the magic words, “thank you.” In 98 percent of conversations, if you think about it, these events translate into golden opportunities to bond with others. That goes for emails, letters and faxes, too.

Centers of Influence. Some customers are Centers of Influence – their emphatic word-of-mouth advertising provides the prospect for a competitive edge. It’s then possible to kick sales to the next level with new cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

Event factor. In the mind of a consumers, even the smallest of purchases represent an event  their lives – sometimes a celebration. That means the bigger the purchase a customer makes, the bigger the event. So be attentive before, during and after the sale.

Surprises. Consumers don’t appreciate negative surprises. They expect seamless service. When several steps are needed in the sale process, proactively keep the customer apprised with status reports with e-mails or telephone calls.

Commitments. Keep all promises. And you’ve heard the adage: “Under promise and over deliver.”

Common courtesies. Never miss an opportunity to say please, thank you, and the person’s name. If you’re talking to someone older than you, use the person’s last name, preceded by Mr., Ms. or Mrs. And in your e-mails and notes, use a 19th century salutation, “Dear…”

Candidly, I make it a practice to use formal greetings the first five times I meet a prospect or customer. I have two clients I’ve known since 1993 and I still greet them or refer to them in front of their employees as “Mr.” 50 percent of the time. And guess what, they still appreciate it. It also reminds them how I value them and it is an for me when I interact with them.

Referrals. The most-opportune time to ask for referrals is when a customer compliments you or your business.

Never ask: “Can you refer me to anyone?”

Instead, ask an open-ended question, such as: “What are the names of people just like you…?”

Remember good salespersons never let a customer do what the salespersons should be doing – by themselves.

Complaints. True, customers are not always right. But when they are, many companies forget it costs more to attract new business than it does to keep customers happy. If you get a complaint, the first response should be empathy.

The second should be appreciation. Encourage your employees to be resourceful in solving the problem. Give them adequate authority to act. Some calls from unhappy customers shouldn’t end with this annoying question: “If there anything else I can help you with?” Besides it’s poor grammar.

From the Coach’s Corner: The 22 Do’s and Don’ts for Successful Negotiations 

“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”

-Henry Ford


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.