Any sales team is bound to lose clients here and there, and as long as you're constantly gaining clients, everything balances out. However, if you notice that you're losing clients more than you're gaining, it's time to take a close look at the practices and strategies of your sales team. There are concrete reasons why your sales team is losing clients, and it's imperative that you reverse the trend before you're in real trouble.
1. Saddling Customers with Too Many Relationship Changes
Steady business relationships provide a backdrop of dependability in an ever-changing world, and if your clients have had to work with too many different people at your firm (multiple sales people, customer service reps, and key contacts), they might leave in order to seek a simpler, more predictable relationship with a different company.
Keep track of the number of people your clients deal with at your company, and do everything possible to protect and foster business relationships that last a long time. This might require shuffling responsibilities a little in order to keep certain sales reps with certain clients, but the rewards are worth the effort.
2. Treating New Customers Too Differently from Existing Customers
When your sales reps first develop a relationship with a new client, they probably pull out all the stops to make that client feel valued and welcome, and this is entirely appropriate. However, existing customers can begin to feel resentful if their loyalty isn't rewarded. If you offer deep discounts to brand new customers but are stingy with your existing customers, they will probably leave you for a company that treats them better.
Analyze the rewards you offer new customers, and make sure that those rewards aren't too different from the ones you use with existing customers. It's important to remember that existing customers generally have the biggest impact on your bottom line.
3. Focusing Too Heavily on Price Advantages
Offering low prices is a great way to find and keep clients, but you can't count exclusively on low prices. There will always be someone who will undercut you in the price department.
Instead, focus on providing the best value. Yes, value includes price, but it also includes service, relationships, and schedule. Consider your current combination of these factors, and think about how you can increase your value in your customers' eyes.
4. Allowing Your Sales Team to Turn Over Too Quickly
High turnover on your sales team means instability in your customer base. Some industries experience more turnover than others, but no matter your industry, you should do everything possible to keep your sales team intact.
You can't expect to have long-term, repeat customers when your customers' contacts keep leaving. Do what you need to do to fix your turnover problem. The following ideas can help:
- Compensate your sales team generously
- Coach them to help them achieve their personal career goals
- Encourage goal setting
- Praise them often--when they deserve it
- Get in the trenches and work with them
5. Forgetting Your Bread and Butter
Every business has products or services that are reliably their best sellers, but sometimes sales teams forget about these principal products because their heads are turned by newer, sexier products or services that get all the focus. If you forget about these principal products and neglect your customers who rely on them, you'll lose clients.
To focus on these principal products and services, make a list of the customers you can't afford to lose. What do these customers buy? The list of their purchases should form the foundation of your business. Make sure your sales team stays focused on that list.
If your sales team is making one or more of these mistakes, it's time for a course correction. Take the necessary steps to stop losing clients and to strengthen your sales team today.