One thing which can bruise the egos of salespeople more than anything else is when customers “fire” you and start doing business with a competitor. It feels like a betrayal, doesn’t it?
There are countless reasons a client might leave you, from bad customer service to missed deliveries to simple economics. But the sting leaves a mark even if you did everything in your power to make them happy.
Before you write them off, there are a few sales closing techniques to try to win the account back. Here are two scenarios, and solutions for each.
Lost Customer Scenario #1: Bad customer service from your company
When you or your company have messed up, own it. Do not be defensive or give excuses. The key for sales closing techniques to recover customers is to accept full responsibility for the foul-ups and not explain things away.
First, let the customer vent. And then simply ACKNOWLEDGE what happened, even if you have good excuses for the problems. Finally, put them in the driver’s seat by asking them what they want you to do to make things right.
Client says, “I have enjoyed working with you in the past, but these late deliveries have really hurt us. And your customer service reps are just the worst – rude and condescending. I cannot deal with your firm any more. Good luck.”
Your response should be, “I am sorry. We dropped the ball on the deliveries and our customer service reps need some training or replacement for sure. There are no excuses, we messed up badly, so I don’t blame you for going with our competitor. How can I make it right?”
Lost Customer Scenario #2: Competitor is cheaper
Of all the sales closing techniques, handling price objections is number one. Price objections can come up with existing customers when it’s time to renew their contracts or upgrade. If your retention and loyalty actions have been poor, or the original salesperson on the account moved on, they might easily be wooed by a cheaper competitor.
Since they are obviously cost-minded, one technique to recover them is to demonstrate a superior ROI by assigning a monetary value to your intangibles.
- “Our workstation has 20 percent less downtime on average. Over one year, I calculate a $25,000 gain in production when you switch back.”
- “Vendors prefer to work with companies who use our system because they can tie their inventory management right into it. This gives you access to more vendors, and therefore negotiating power. You could probably save $150,000 annually on that point alone.”
- “Our brand has tremendous goodwill in this market. Associating with us as a customer lifts your brand as well. Based on your average deal size, closing just one more account because of that could mean another $40,000 to your bottom line, right?
The banter might go something like this: “Mr. Williams, I understand you switched over to Acme’s workstations rather than renew your contract with us. I respect your decision, and understand you have to look for the best deal possible for your business. But I feel that, over the next three years, this is actually going to cost you double. Let me explain…”
Cover the points you came up with, emphasizing the dollars saved and overall ROI in the long run – despite the higher initial cost of your offering. If you demonstrate enough value, you will be able to win them back when the contract with your competitor expires. In the meantime, keep up regular touches to remain top of mind.
Have you lost a customer recently? Try these sales closing techniques to recover them and let us know if you have success!