Tuesday, September 12

Back to the Well 

Back to the Well

Going back to an old customer can be awkward. Get over it. Former clients offer your best chances of all for making a sale. Here are a few tips to rejuvenate that old business relationship — the right way.

1. Never let relationships lapse Even if they haven't bought anything in a year, maintain occasional contact through letters and personal calls. When their economic situation turns for the better, you'll appear as the one who stood by them.

2. Keep databases current Your customer relationship management software is only as good as the salespeople using it. Make sure contact information and account status is always up-to-date, so it'll actually be helpful when you need it the most.

3. It's all in the timing If you're able to lure a customer back immediately from your competitor, great. If not, figure out when to strike again — perhaps when the next contract is coming up for renewal, even if that's a year or two down the line.

4. In with the new In the time that's passed, odds are your company has introduced new products and services to its repertoire. But does your old client know that? Figure out what the customer's needs are now, and shape the pitch accordingly.

5. Be careful with price breaks If you offer discounts only to those who've left, you're setting a tricky precedent. Consider offering additional, personalized services to clients instead, to lure them back into the fold without sacrificing your own profits.

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