You Win, You Earn, You Close, You…Lose?
There are books, videos, podcasts and coaches out there who will teach you how to find and gain clients; some even go as far as to how to keep and nurture them.
But no one tells you how to lose them.
And why would they? No one wants to learn how to lose. My hope is that if you find the lessons in LOSING that you will use that to find what helps you WIN.
My first job out of college was 100 percent commission selling supplemental insurance products. When jobs in my field came up short, I went in for an interview and immediately recognized what kind of working environment this would be. I told myself to stick it out for one year and it ended up teaching me everything I DIDN’T want to continue doing (which taught me everything I DID want to do and be.)
If you’ve ever had issues with a boss, employer or parent you have probably learned a lot about what you DIDN’T want to do as a future boss, employer or parent.
This is just as beneficial a lesson and in comes the ‘no regrets, just lessons learned’ quotes.
The entire goal of a business professional is to build your book of business, have them refer you and then continually service them while receiving commissions.
Maybe you’ve been someone who is great at closing accounts or fantastic at servicing accounts OR maybe you’ve been in the game for 10 years and have accounts you don’t even have to think about.
Then one day your star client calls and asks to cancel their subscription to your product.
“No one wants to quit when he’s losing and no one wants to quit when he’s winning.” — Richard Petty
If you’re active on multiple channels, working with multiple people and continually filling your sales funnel then this will be a bump in the road. If you’ve decided it’s good enough and already wiped the dirt off your hands welcome to the best way to lose clients. Here are the Top Three things I learned from gaining and losing clients.
Have a topic you want to hear more about? Leave a comment and let’s talk about it!
It’s Not Them, It’s You
I was watching tired people closing business, grudgingly setting up the account and then walking away as fast as they could with their paycheck. In fact, on multiple occasions in multiple businesses, I have been handed a list of HUNDREDS of accounts or clients to revive. They had been almost a year or more of no communication and I, as a new and unfamiliar employee, was to rekindle that relationship.
It’s not their fault; it’s your fault.
If you expect someone to love you, sign up for what you’re selling and cheer for you continually, it’s not going to happen. Like any successful relationship it requires continuous communication.
My co-workers were emailing people who didn’t use their email. They were calling people who don’t answer numbers they don’t know. They were walking in to businesses surprising them in the middle of their workday.
They were careless and regularly got caught showing the client they weren’t any different than the thousands of other people met in their lifetime.
Pay attention to what your client needs and how best to communicate with them. Each time I met with someone I took an insane amount of detailed notes to remember everything I could about them. Their outfit, their Alma Mater, their kid’s names…anything that came up in our conversation that I could recall and build rapport.
It is not their job to buy into you while you sit back and relax. It’s YOUR job to make an effort in relating to that person and (secondly) how your product can best fit or help that person.
Mary On The Prairie
A fun way to say you’re outdated way of doing things just don’t work anymore. My first job trained all of their agents to make hundreds (150-200) cold calls every Monday. Not kidding. It was hell at a desk. That kind of poison spreads through an office, to clients and back to you.
You’re calling people who don’t want to be called, leaving messages that won’t get returned and if you DO talk to someone it was a script that more than likely never got you anywhere.
I swore I would never get another job that required you to cold call….until I did. My next job the calls were a little bit warmer but it was still a call many found pointless or uninvited and this immediately alienated them from the company.
In the age where technology has found it’s way sneakily into our everyday life via Facebook or YouTube ads, spam calls, email blasts and more, people have a lower tolerance for the icky and awkward virtual door knocker (…and in person door knocker. No, I don’t want to buy your overly expensive vacuum cleaner.)
Time to work smarter and here is where your notes come in. If possible, doing business in person will help you win more than doing business over the phone. Think about how much can get lost in translation by not being face-to-face.
If possible, I will tell them when to expect my follow-up call. I will make sure I am showing up early and prepared on time. I can reflect on my notes to overcome possible or common objections before they come up. If someone prefers to have a texting reminder for a meeting, ensure it’s professional and leave emojis out of it.
ALWAYS make sure you’re following your state’s guidelines for communication and just because your manager says “You’re not selling, you’re inviting/just talking/asking questions” always do what you feel is right and what is legal.
If you wouldn’t want a stranger calling then why call? In the age where people text, you might find more success with a texting campaign. This will likely irk people who have opted out of your calls and emails so just leave them off the list. They’ll come back when they’re ready.
Oh, and for the love of all good things, stop asking “Can I ask you a question?”
Erase The Scoreboard
Difficult for people who consider themselves competitive, right? Keeping track of stats, accounts closed, clients enrolled or number of ___ sold are solid ways to keep an eye on all your quantitative data. This should be something you’re buddied up to daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly in order to reach your goals and improve your business.
But it is NOT the only thing that matters.
When you have your eye on closing five new accounts this month or enrolling twenty new people during your next promotion, you’re making them NUMBERS and not PEOPLE. I highly recommend figuring out your WHY and not just using that in your elevator or sales pitch to make you seem relatable but tattoo it on your dang forehead so you see it e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y.
We all have the same handful of friends that will send the generic message about how they were thinking of you and you would be GREAT to sell ____, or how they want you to buy ___ . You know the kind.
But these people only want to talk when I am looking for someone to hire. They don’t tell me happy birthday, they don’t message me unless it’s for a product purchase and they don’t interact with any of my posts yet they are all smiles when wanting to bring me on to their team. When it comes time for me to work with someone or buy something do you think I would go to them?
If you try to pretty up an ‘Ask’ or dodge around a topic in a way that will make them feel lied to, cheated or manipulated later on then you will lose them as well as anyone they speak to about it.
Remember people are more likely to share about a negative experience than they are about a mediocre one. Always treat every person and situation as if you were taking care of a loved one. If you continue chasing after the end goal, bonus amount or number you will never win. If you remember WHY you are doing this and WHO you are doing it for, you’ve got a client for life…not just another client.
- Take notes. Learn everything you can about the person and record your conversations for future use. Remember to keep it factual and unbiased to your emotion. If you see that you’ve reached out twenty times in the last year (as an example) without a return interest, let them go.
- Communication. If you suck at listening or communicating then you’re business will suck. Show that you care and provide an awesome experience even if this means over-delivery or a few minutes longer on an already long conversation. People will always remember how you made them feel.
- Work Smarter. If you’re doing the above two well then you can work smarter instead of harder. Use names, gather what information you can so you can speak to the correct person and do as much business in person as you can.
- Don’t ask how to be authentic; just be authentic.
- Say what you mean but don’t say it mean. Don’t ever talk poorly about a client (or friend or colleague, etc.) because that will reflect how YOU are, it will hardly ever damage the person you’re speaking of.
I hope these gave you something to think about and please share in the comments if you have any other tips for us. If you or someone you know is looking for a partner in the marketing field, let’s connect!
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