How to Increase Your Long-Term Client Stickability

By: Gene McNaughton

Let’s face it, getting new clients is a difficult task. Most companies are in “hunt-mode”, spending loads of dollars in an attempt to win new deals.

One overlooked growth strategy (and one that I rarely find) is in Client Retention. Just think about this for a moment; If you were to lose one of your top 10 accounts, how much time, effort, and energy would it take to replace that account?

We all know the answer to that, so let’s spend a few minutes thinking about “how to create even more client stickability”.

Client Stickability

At the end of the day, your clients are hiring you to either solve a problem for them or to help them create a business outcome. As you provide value in your core services and continue to serve them at the highest levels, constantly checking for progress, and reminding them of the progress that you have made (I call it “The before and after” story), the likelihood of keeping that client for the long term is positive.

However, here is one strategy that most of you are likely missing: Behaving like a Business Outcome Consultant. This strategy is about everything you CAN do for them that is out of your initial service level scope. You see, most people make the mistake that just performing the work is good enough. But not by today’s standards.

First, contact your customers and simply ask how things are going.  Refresh them on the value you’ve provided (the before and after story).  By doing this, not only will you show them that you’re invested in their success, but they can trust you to continue to build value within their company.  At that moment, you should move outside of the initial service level scope.

Moving Outside Initial Service Scope

One commonly overlooked value-add that you can offer is in understanding their level of cyber security. Because you probably hear “yea, we already have that” or “we’re good to go in that category”.

However, have you ever gone to a secondary question? Something like, “I understand, but are you aware that the City of Atlanta said the same thing? Did you know that, while they had security software installed they were still hacked, and couldn’t take online payments until six months after the attack?  That ransomware infection alone cost the municipality millions, simply because they didn’t have a proactive cyber security approach.   While most people believe they have this covered, in all cases, when they find out after the fact it is far too late.  Do you feel confident in your current solution can prevent these cyber attacks?”

Then simply let them respond, and most importantly, listen and probe.  Listen for what security solution they’re currently using.  Question what they like and dislike about it, and what they value in a solution.  Then, it’s time to make your personalized pitch, directly addressing each of the consumer’s pain points and offering up a valuable, preventative approach to meet their security needs. 

Conclusion

To summarize, know that there are only three ways for you to grow your business. One is to get great at winning new brands. The other two ways are in retaining and growing your existing accounts.  The best way to do this is by considering yourself a Business Outcome Consultant. Always be looking for ways to serve your customers, and you will find more companies/people looking to you for solutions, not just products.

About the Author:

Gene McNaughton is the President of Growthsmart Consulting.  Over the last 8 years, Growthsmart has helped companies ranging from $5m/year – +$1billion/year to grow faster, smarter, and better.  Gene has spent more than 26 years as a top producing salesperson, manager, and leader. He is a regular keynote speaker at conferences around the world.

Gene’s Best Selling Book, “The Sales EDGE” is available on Amazon.  To receive a free chapter of Gene’s book, go to:  www.thesalesedge.co

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