January 31st, 2019 – Customer retention is crucial in all industries. We’ve all received that dreaded call from a customer that would like to cancel your service. As Sales Professionals, we understand that it is par for the course. However, this can be minimized by one simple step. I was recently reminded of this sales technique when my satellite provider raised my monthly premium.
I asked to speak to their “Customer Retention Department” and my monthly service bill was quickly reduced back to its lower amount. However, in the world of sales we don’t all have the luxury of such a department. It’s up to us to grow market share and maintain our client base. So, what can we do different in our sales approach to keep this event to a minimum?
I call this technique the “What’s it going to look like close.” The great appeal to this process is that it can be implemented at any time with your customer. The key to this technique is to identify the unforeseen future events that could cause your customer to cancel your service. These reasons may include new purchasing managers, new operations managers, budget audits and/or reductions, etc. Regardless of the reason, this is very effective.
The Goal: Have your customer fight on your behalf to retain your service.
By planting a seed upfront with your customer, they will be calling you to salvage the deal. The dialog will differ from one industry to another, but the premise will always remain the same. The conversation will always begin with this one line, “What’s it going to look like when (fill in the blank)?”
Allow me to explain. In my role, there are three common denominators that tend to be the catalyst for existing customers to want to cancel:
• New Purchasing Manager
• Budget Audit
When I first partner with a new customer, I always ask them this question. “What’s it going to look like when your organization would like to cancel my service?” The reply is almost always, “What do you mean?” And that’s exactly what I want to hear. This opens up the dialog for me to discuss future objections that could possibly arise specific to their organization and how it relates to my service. By planting this seed upfront, I’m basically asking them to call me so I have the opportunity to salvage the deal.
So, why is this technique so effective? By performing this one simple step, the individual will remember your upfront discussion. This does not mean 100% success. The point of this tactic is simply to have the opportunity before a decision has been executed. The frustration that we have as Sales Professionals is that the individual and/or department making the decision to cancel usually has no idea what your service or products are even about.
The “What’s it going to look like close” takes the pressure off of your prospect. You’ve told them in the beginning that nothing lasts forever. You understand that a future decision to part ways will probably be a decision not of their own. You have totally let their “guilt guard” down and that is why this technique is so effective.
The art of sales in many ways is understanding human nature. Had you not performed this technique, your customer could easily call you in the future and explain that the decision is out of their hands. You have now taken that excuse off the table. You told them this would eventually happen. Having the opportunity to salvage the deal prior to cancellation is crucial. It will not only increase your retention rate, but it will save you valuable time that can be used to generate new customers.
I hope this sales technique becomes an asset to your sales approach. And remember, asking the questions that others won’t will reveal the answers that others don’t have. Happy selling.
Please feel free to contact Chris August anytime @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-august-22988544