In the world of professional sales, the fate of 2018 has been cast, and all eyes have turned to the shiny new year. For the vast majority of sales professionals, our success in 2019 will not be determined by shiny new customers, however, but by our existing clients. That being the case, we must spare no effort to keep our current customers engaged, excited and happy to be doing business with us.

It is a well-known fact that business from existing customers is far more profitable than acquiring new customers. Estimates for the cost of new customer acquisition range from 5-30 times greater than the cost of customer retention. Given this data, it is hard to imagine a better use of our energy than cultivating optimal customer engagement. In the coming weeks, we will be looking at high impact ways to improve customer engagement and the customer experience.

This week's tip:

Stay in contact.

This sounds so simple; and yet, it clearly is not getting done, since one of the leading reasons customers leave existing vendors is because they feel they have been forgotten or are otherwise getting shortchanged in the attention (or value) they receive. This is also one aspect of sales that is completely within our control. Shame on us if we lose business because we've ignored the customer!

Here are some quick and easy tips for staying in touch with customers:

  • Put a tickler system in place so that you never go more than 30 days without reaching out to a customer.
  • Does your company publish a customer newsletter? Leverage that vehicle to make personal contact with customers. Always be looking for topics of relevance that you can call out for key accounts, and then forward the newsletter with a personal note. Continually keep your eye out for relevant industry or topical material that you can share in the same fashion. These relatively simple acts go a long way in showing customers that you are thinking of them and are invested in their success.
  • Make it part of your sales process to capture customer employment anniversary dates and birthdays, and then incorporate these events in your tickler system. These personal touches really help relationship building with customers.
  • Keep your contact balanced between product and service promotion (selling) and helpful information and insights (serving) as a reflection of your commitment to the customer's interests.

This also happens to be the perfect time of year to reach out to customers, thank them for their business, wish them a delightful holiday season, and share your excitement with the opportunity to continue serving them in 2019.