Every time I’ve lost a customer it has come down to one thing. I didn’t give a shit about them.
This usually happens after I’ve been on a winning streak of closing a number of new accounts in a short period of time.
My ego inflates, my head gets bigger and as my Dad would say I “get too big for my boots”. What he actually means is that is that I’m being an idiot.
I stop interacting with the people who are actually paying my bills and only spend time talking to people who aren’t.
How stupid is that?
I recently lost a customer who sponsored the Salesman Podcast. They were an awesome customer because they never once pestered me to update them on how many downloads the show was getting and they’ve always just accepted the price I charged.
They never complained that it’s too high.
They never tried to screw me for a better deal.
In fact each month their payment rolled in. It paid my rent. I didn’t hear anything from them.
Until one day it didn’t…
Unicorns VS Donkeys
The problem is that because they never demanded my time, I didn’t give it to them.
My time went to prospecting new partners and pandering to the requests of another sponsor who wanted daily updates on the traffic we were driving them.
It’s like owning both a Unicorn that looks after itself, then hands you money each month and a stinky donkey that needs constant supervision otherwise it eats all your stuff, makes a mess and then doesn’t want to pay for it.
I allowed my unicorn to get bored and trot off whilst I took its handouts for granted.
I was left with a pain in the ass donkey to look after.
(I ended up leaving the gate open and encouraging the donkey to leave in the end but that’s another story)
I learned is that it’s important to be grateful for the customers that are an ease to work with (it’s also wise to sack the customers that you hate working with).
The irony is that your customers that don’t demand your attention are the ones you should be giving all your love to.
They are the individuals that will buy your latest product or update as soon as your company releases it.
They are the cash cows that salespeople should do everything we can to hold onto but they often get forgotten.
I suck at keeping in touch. I suck at doing things on time. I suck at even just replying to my emails promptly.
I get easily distracted by shiny new things and so I often drop the ball with things I know need to be done.
Today for example, I’ve 5x emails that need replies urgently. They’re all deals that are very close to being closed and yet I’m more excited about writing this blog post.
The time I had set aside to reply to them I spent recording an episode of the #AskWillShow because it’s new, fresh and exciting to me.
*One minute, I’m genuinely going to stop writing and return those emails right now*
*There done. Guess what, I feel better for it too*
I have however cracked the code to keeping in touch my with Unicorn customers.
It’s as simple as…
Have A Process
When I hunt for new business I have a process. I bet it looks similar to yours –
- Gather potential prospects contact details
- Email them
- Track replies
- Follow up again if no reply
- Get them on the phone if there is a reply
- Have phone call and build rapport
- Log details of call in CRM
- Ask for business
- Ask for business again
- Keep asking, building rapport, asking, until they close
- Send invoice
- Update CRM
However until recently I had no process in place to keep these individuals as customers.
I was a great hunter but a poor farmer.
This is what separates the sales professionals from the short term salesmen.
The pros know that the easiest person to sell to is someone that has already handed money over. There is a lot of interesting psychology going on behind the scenes but if someone has already opened their wallet they must already know, like and trust you.
My ad sales role within Salesman.Red would be an awful lot easier if there was a set process in place to keep these customers on board after they’d been with us a few months.
It could actually turn into quite a cushy position if all I had to do was to follow a fixed routine each week.
I could instantly eliminate the rejection that comes from prospecting and the stress associated with the uncertainty of not knowing if we’re going to get paid at the beginning of each month.
Moving forward I will be doing the following like clockwork. Each and every Monday morning I will –
- Stalk the social accounts of the contact I have at the company
- Stalk the company’s social accounts
- Devour everything I can that has been written in the past week
- I will then search for 2 blog posts/videos that will offer that contact value
- I will search my (rapidly growing) network for someone new to introduce the contact to
And I will put all of this in an email that will look something like this –
I loved your blog post on ABC last week. I’ve commented on it and shared it with my audience.
The post 123 about 456 on your company’s blog killed it too. I’ve also shared that.
Having gone through my network I feel that you might get value out of an introduction with DFG regarding 789. Let me know if you think this would be valuable and I will set up an intro.
Finally I know you’re a busy guy but I thought you might get something out of these posts I read last week –
Link 1: HIJ ways to do KLM
- This quickly explains KLM which should give you NOP in your business.
Link 2: QRS video on TUV
- A 2 minute video on how to do WXY which is a growing trend within your industry.
If you need any update on stats or ad performance from me do let me know.
I’m keeping the Unicorn on a lead. One powerful introduction alone could be worth doing business with me nevermind the ads.
I’m doing what a salesman should – adding additional value to the product we’re offering!
I’m doing business (exchanging value) on a level that supersedes money.
I’m making it very difficult (as long as the partner is getting a positive return on their marketing spend (i.e. they spend X, you guys hear an ad, go visit them and enough sign up to make them Y)) to just disappear.
It comes down to the simple question –
Does it take more effort to send an email each Monday to keep the customer on board or to prospect and bring in new customers?
For me it’s WAY less effort to do some research, email and then follow up each Monday.
It’s a no brainer.