Strategies to Increase Retention, Expand Relationships and Drive Referrals

This week I moved my business from one of my long-time vendors – hired someone new. The
new vendor is not any less expensive, does not have a better product and is actually slightly
less convenient to work with in terms of availability and response time.

So why did a move? Good question and an important one to know the answer to if you want to
know how to succeed in today’s marketplace. I dropped my long-time vendor, moved the
relationship because I didn’t feel that my long-time vendor really valued my business anymore.
I still liked him, still liked the product, and found him responsive when I reached out. But I can’t
remember the last time he showed a genuine interest in my business.

Now that may seem obvious, but I challenge you. When is the last time you called on your
long-term customers just to check-in? When is the last time you reached out for something
other than business?

You must remember that your best customers are your competitions best prospects. And if you
are not calling on your best customers, believe me, they are. In today’s economy the worst thing
that could happen to you – the very worst. Is not that you don’t get the sale, it is that your best
customers find out about a product or service they need from someone else other than you.

Remember, customers can buy the products and services they want anywhere and from
any time, that is not why they work with you, and not why they are loyal to you. That happens
because of the relationship. And relationships are about more than selling products and
services, they are about more than reacting to customers requests, they are about investing
more in your customers then you ask them to invest in you.

4 Strategies to Increase Retention, Expand Relationship and Drive Referrals

1. Just Say Thank You – wow sounds so simple; well believe me it is just that easy. Every
once in a while, you should reach out and just say thank you to your best customers.
Let them know you value their business, recognize the trust they have put in you, and
that you look forward to expanding the relationship. Not every interaction with a
customer needs to be about business, sometimes it is just important to let them know
you realize you are lucky to have them on your team.

2. Share the Good News – realize that your best customers want to be in the know, feel
like they are part of the team. So, when great things happen in your business share the
good news. You hit your sales goals – send them a thank you note announcing the win
and letting them know you could never do it without amazing customers like them. You
are expanding your business – invite them to the grand opening as a special guest.

3. Inquire About Goals – their goals that is. Take the time at least once a year if not twice,
to reach out and ask what is new in their business, what challenges they are facing, and
what their goals are for the coming year. Just asking those questions will open a robust
conversation that ensures your customers feels listened to and valued. In addition, you
will uncover a list of opportunities in which you can use your products and services to
move their business forward.

4. Add Value – your goal with your best customers should be to help them grow their
business. Whether that means inviting them to a conference, sharing a great article or
sending them a piece of business. Whatever it is, a few times a year your best
customers should feel you are doing more to grow their business then they are doing to
grow yours.

So yes, investing in our existing customers is one of the smartest strategies we have to grow
our business. Existing customers buy more from us, refer us business, and help build our
reputation in the marketplace.

If my existing vendor had done any of these things I promise I would still be their customer.
So, put these strategies into place, and watch as your open more doors and close more sales.


Meridith Powell

High energy and highly interactive, Business Growth Strategist Meridith Elliott Powell’s keynotesworkshops and innovative coaching programs help leaders and business owners learn the new rules of success today, including how today’s economy has changed, how that has changed today’s customers and employees, and specifically how that impacts your business.