It’s common to get overly-focused on developing new business, or the work involved in servicing existing clients. But to keep out of the “feast and famine” roller coaster, it’s wise to develop a simple program for reactivating former clients.
By doing so, you’ll often find a goldmine of sales revenue (and, remember: the cost in time and money to get a former client to buy is usually far less than attracting a new customer).
4 tips for developing a plan to reactivate past clients.
Block out an hour in your busy schedule and do this:
1. Look at your client database, and pull a list of those that are inactive. Be open minded. Don’t make assumptions that “these folks will never come back.”
2. Analyze any trends for these inactive customers. What services did they use? What needs or problems did they have? Do they still have these needs/problems? How long ago was it since your last contact with them? Are they using a competitor now?
3. Determine what services you could offer to them immediately to generate sales. What kind of offer (price, package of services, etc.) could you offer that they might respond to?
4. Develop a plan to inexpensively contact them. Would it be best by phone? A letter or email? A postcard?
4 ideas for generating new interest in your service from former clients
1. Have the owner of your company call them. Sometimes just touching base to see how things are going can regenerate interest in your service. You might be surprised that they say, “oh, we’ve been meaning to call you… we need to…”
2. If in your customer notes there was a problem with your service that caused them to discontinue working with you, consider sending an “I’m sorry” or “we’d like you back” letter. Make it short, give a heartfelt apology for what went wrong, and express interest in working with them again to solve their business pain or problem (perhaps offering to set up a free consultation). Including some fresh testimonials from current clients might help heal the relationship as well.
3. Offer a free assessment of their current needs. If it’s been a while since you’ve contacted them, it may be time to re-assess their goals and challenges. Offer some pro-bono time to hear them out, and make some (free) suggestions that are of value to them. Don’t be afraid to give a lot of value to gain them back. It may prove to prime the pump for new business opportunities.
4. Give them a “preferred client” offer for your services. Offer a special discount to them as a previous client. Consider spicing up the offer with a free or discounted upgrade to your service if they come back. Tailor the offer specifically to the profile of needs that had when you worked with them before (or new needs they have now).
Perform a “reactivation” campaign a few times a year. It will help you flatten out peaks and valleys in sales revenue, and, generally, any time or reasonable financial cost you put into to reactivating previous clients is going to be highly profitable compared to the same type of efforts you invest to attract new clients.