Logo Andy Sokol
The #1 Reason Customers Don’t Return

When creating client retention campaigns in your business – the first step  is to break your clients into the A, B,  C, and D categories that we have talked about before.

This leaves you will the four categories:

  • “A” clients are your top 2% of your clients, your perfect client.  
  • “B” clients are the remainder of your top 20% of your clients.

**These two categories (A and B)  represent 80% of your revenue, so these are the top  20% of your clients, and the represent the top 80% of your revenue.**

  • “C” customers represent 80% of your clients and roughly 20% of your revenue.  
  • “D” are dormant clients, and they currently represent none of your current revenue, but are eligible to be revived as a current client.  These clients are not to be easily dismissed, and it’s like you can re engage them as an active customer with the right contacts.

Let’s talk about some suggested campaigns:

Suggested Campaign for “A” Clients

  1. When they become a client, say thank you and give them some brownies for being a new client.  
  2. Anniversary of being a client  
  3. Birthday card ‐  Since it’s an A client, I would suggest including some type of small gift in the card as well.   
  4. A holiday card   
  5. Referral ask card
  6. Valentine card, “We just love you being our customer”   
  7. 4th of July card

Suggested Campaign for “B” Clients

  1. Thank you with brownies  
  2. Anniversary of being a client  
  3. Birthday card. In this birthday card it’s not really necessary that you give them a gift as well.
  4. Holiday card  
  5. Referral ask card  
  6. Valentine card  
  7. 4th of July card   

For each of the A and B clients, the recommendation is to send out a card every other month, six times a year, plus once for a birthday.   

Suggested Campaign for “C” Clients

With your “C” clients, you’re not going to send to them as much because they don’t bring you as much money as far as revenue is concerned, so you don’t want to stay in front of them as much, and because there’s a certain ROI on all of this.   

  1. You definitely want to give them a thank you card. You don’t need to give them brownies. It’s just an added cost there, but if you send them a thank you card, they’re going to be blown away anyway.   
  2. Anniversary of being a client card  
  3. Birthday card. Always send a birthday card no matter what  
  4. Holiday card   
  5. Referral ask card  

Now, if you notice on this campaign for the C clients, there are five cards I recommend, the thank you, the anniversary, the birthday, the holiday, that’s your 80% relationship part, and then of course the last card, the referral ask card. That’s the 20% of marketing.   

Suggested Campaign for “D” Clients

Then for your D or dormant clients, what you can do is you can still send,  even though they haven’t used your services in quite a while perhaps, but you can still send them a “Thank you, we appreciate you card.” They may not remember the last time they’ve used your services and may not have realized how long it’s been where you consider them dormant, and maybe they don’t. Maybe the sales cycle and when they want to order your services is a long time. It’s not a problem to send them a thank you card and that we appreciate your business.

You definitely want to send them a re engagement card. If you know how long it’s been and the exact date perhaps even of when the last time they used your service is, it’s good to put in there, “We’d love to have you back. The last time your ordered from our company was January 5th of last year and we really look forward to hearing from you again. Please give us a call.”

This shows that you pay attention to detail and it shows that you care, that you really want their business. 

Here are some ninja style techniques on sending cards to stay in front of those prospects and clients

 

When you’re attending a networking event, get somebody’s business card when you meet them, and send them a nice to meet you card, instead of just an email. The email is so impersonal, that they’ll appreciate the card, and they’ll remember you from the card.  

 

You can celebrate somebody’s birthday if you happen to get it when you first meet them. You can congratulate them on their successes when you first find out about it. You can send gifts with your cards to prospective clients such as some brownies, or anything else, there’s a whole ton of things you can send with cards that will just be a nice way to say thanks.  

 

You can send a card to a potential client’s pet directly, not the person, and you can enclose some dog treats or some cat toys, or whatever may be appropriate.   

 

When you want an appointment with somebody that isn’t responding to  your calls, send them a card with a Starbucks gift card inside and inside the card it’ll say, you’re even paying for the coffee if they’ll meet with you.  

 

You can pull photos off of Facebook when someone has grandkids or some other life event and put a collage on the front of the card with a short congratulations done on the inside.

 

You can take a selfie picture with someone you meet at a networking event and put their picture on the front of the card with you, then send it to them with brownies. They’ll keep that card with your contact information on it forever, because nobody can throw away a picture of themselves.  

 

When you visit an office, take a picture of the signage and add that picture to the front of a card and add a gift to the office.   

 

Before you hold an event, send everyone a card with brownies to setup the experience. If you’re network marketing, setup a series of cards where you welcome new team members and customers alike, and then auto reminders to have them reorder.  

 

If you’re a speaker, stay on top of mind of the promoters by sending pictures that highlight their last event. If you’re an author, use cards as invites to book signings, and then follow up with a collage card to all that were in attendance.  

 

When your top clients post onto social media like Facebook or Instagram, pull those pictures and put them on a card, and send it to them, that will help you build a relationship as well.  

 

If you’re a realtor, send invites to your open house to all the neighbors. And of course, I don’t want to forget to remind you that you need to ask for referrals from your existing clients and prospects, by sending cards, you could be a referral rockstar.

 

These are just some of the out of the box marketing ideas to send cards to stay in front of your prospects and your clients, and to help build those relationships. It’s endless, the number of ways you can creatively think of the types of cards to send and have them remember you.    

 

My suggestion is to you is just do it.

We’re going to talk about stickiness and valuation.  For a business owner, sticky refers to how long customers stay and continue to buy from your business. When your business is being evaluated by an investor for, let’s say for an acquisition, stickiness is everything.   

 

They’ll look first at the business that you have under contract to determine if the contracts can be assigned to them during the change of ownership.  However, not all sticky business is under contract. Some customers just buy again and again and again, even when they’re not bound by any contracts to do so.   

 

To determine how sticky your revenue is, your potential investor will want to see revenue by customer, by period. Usually they’ll look at revenue by customer, by year, for let’s say three to five years, and my month, for the most recent 12 months. This enables them to see how repeatable your revenue is.   

 

Sticky has a bad connotation in some contexts. To be clear, I don’t want you to think about how you feel on a hot day, however, in the context of customers and revenue, sticky is a wonderful thing.   

 

Sticky gives you the value that someone else will pay you for all of those years of your hard work that you’ve done. When a company is looking to buy you out they want to know that they are buying solid, loyal, client relationships, and that’ll be easier and quicker than trying to get those customers on their own. That’s the whole point of it.  

 

Companies are willing to pay a premium for those relationships, which translates to more money for you, as the seller. That’s why an excellent client retention record and plan has everything to do with the future of your business ‐ and of course, your long‐term payout from all your  business efforts.

If you’re going to stop customers from shopping with your competition, you must constantly be on the top of their mind so they don’t ever forget about you. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to build a great relationship with a customer, whereby they know, like, and trust you.

 

But most importantly, they need to remember you too. One of my favorite quotes…Oh, and by the way I wrote the quote, is, “If you don’t remind your clients that they know, like, and trust you they will be stolen away by your competitors.”

 

Think about that. If your clients forget that they know, like, and trust you and they forget who you are and they only remember that they know, like, and trust you when they think of you…Which, if it isn’t very often you’re not doing your job, then they’re going to be stolen away by your competitors because they forgot all about you. So don’t let that happen.     

 

The better you are at becoming a master of top‐of‐mind awareness, the more your business will thrive. By showing how much you care about and appreciate your customers, the less likely they will be to compare you and your company with others. It’s too easy to compare online, and there will always be a competitor that is willing to be cheaper than anybody else in every industry.

 

The  best thing to do is to differentiate yourself so they can’t compare you against the others.     Once they know you, like you, trust you, and remember you, you will have the window into spending that very valuable 20% of your time marketing to them. This will come naturally, and your clients won’t even mind because they trust that you have their best interests in mind.   

 

One of the best ways to get more business out of your clients is to ask for more business instead of waiting for them to buy. You can send notices about other products and services you offer that your customers may not even know about. Maybe they already know about your other products or services, but you  don’t want them to forget about them when they need something other than what they normally buy from you.

 

According to the statistics, 62% your customers are not taking advantage of all the products or services you offer. If you’re not engaging your customers on a regular basis, and staying at the top of their mind, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. This is how you increase your revenue without finding new customers.     

 

This is also a great way to increase referrals, especially for your best clients. We’re going to talk more about exactly how to do this later, without begging for referrals and being embarrassed when you don’t get them. For now, just keep in mind that this is the entry point to getting more sales and increasing referrals.     

 

So, stay top‐of‐mind to keep your customers and increase their sales from you over time.

When a loyal customer knows about all of your services, and you’re at the top of their mind when they’re speaking with one of their friends or one of their associates, or when they hear about someone who might need your services, you will get more referrals.     

 

Here’s the rule: When you’re at the top of their mind, they will refer you more often. So let’s talk about how to facilitate your client retention investment into referrals.

 

You don’t have to leave it up to your clients to remember you all by themselves. What you can do and should do is create referral cards to encourage them to give you more referrals. And a good example would be a card that says on the front, “We want more clients just like you.” And when you open up the card, on the left side, it’s got a handwritten section in there where they can put a list of names with their addresses, phone numbers, business name, and on the right side of the card is says something along the lines of, “We want more customers just like you, that way we can help serve you better.”

 

Then all they need to do is put the card itself into a fax machine, of course the fax number is at the top of the card, and they can fax the card back to you with the referral.

 

It’s just that easy. That’s one idea you can do. Of course, when you’re getting referrals, it’s really free advertising. And this free advertising creates the proverbial domino effect that definitely helps your bottom line. So, the domino effect is where those referrals become clients, and now that they’re clients, they bring you more referrals, which become clients, and then those clients bring you more referrals and so on.

 

Remember the 80/20 rule? Your efforts need to be 80% relationship building and only 20% marketing. Asking for a referral is part of the 20% marketing. When done once in a while, it will come across as okay. That’s the easy way to do it.

 

When you do it this way, there’s no more begging for referrals and then getting embarrassed when you don’t get them. Even if you don’t get referrals, which is highly unlikely if you treat your customers right, you will still increase your revenue without having to find new customers because you are remaining at the top of their mind.    

 

If you’re sending a card to a client that says, “We love you, we want more clients just like you,” you’re staying at the top of their mind, even if they don’t give you a referral. And if you stay at the top of their mind, they’re going to order from you again.

 

It’s just because it’s easier for them to buy these additional services from you as a trusted resource instead of having to start all over again and find someone else to buy from, that they already know you, like you, and trust you. And now you’re at the top of their mind, they remember you, they’re going to buy from you again.   

 

Either way, these referral campaigns work in your favor, whether they give you referral or not. You’re still increasing your business.  

Let’s look at how to systemize your client retention to be predictable, consistent and repeatable. It’s interesting to know that the word system stands for save yourself time, energy and money.

 

    There’s four basic ways to send cards:

 

  • Send a single card to a single address. This is when you send a heartfelt card out to say, “Thank you,” or “Nice to meet you,” for example.   
  • Send a single card to a group of addresses. An example would be to send out holiday cards to all your clients and potential clients that you recently met and haven’t placed an order with you yet.   
  • Send multiple cards to a single address. This way is generally used for follow‐up campaigns.  
  • Send multiple cards to a group of addresses. This method is for stay in touch campaigns.     

 

Now, here’s an important note, do not send anything relating to marketing, even asking for referrals unless it’s only one card out of a minimum five touch campaign, so that’s where your 80/20 rules comes in.

 

We don’t want to send anything more than 20% related to marketing, so it’s one of five cards, then one of them can be related to marketing. It takes a lot of touches to remain at the top of the mind of your prospects and your clients.   

 

The average prospect will not do business with you until they’ve seen or heard from you at least seven times. To do this right, you need to be a card sending machine. However, it takes an incredible amount of time to do this all by hand.     

 

The more systematic you are in approaching this, the better results you’re going to see and the more clients you’re going to turn into repeat and lifelong customers who refer business to you again.    

 

A word of warning. Do not try to do this all alone. Either one of these scenarios will either:  a. Overwhelm you, or b. Be instantly set aside and forgotten the moment you have a fire to put out around the office. If you want to see results from your client retention, you must be predictable, consistent, repeatable.    

So how do you decide what type of that you want to send, and to whom?

 

First thing you need to do is draft the type of cards that will resonate with each type of client. Be very careful when organizing your client list so that you are accurate. You don’t want to send a “nice to meet you” card to a client that you’ve had for many, many years. You also don’t want to send a “we miss you” card to one of your top customers.

 

There’s nothing worse than sending the wrong message and confusing your clients in an awkward way. A confused customer simply won’t buy from you. You want to craft campaigns based on the client and their long‐term relationship potential with your company.   

 

Your “A” clients should be assigned a high‐touch campaign and a referral solicitation campaign, which includes six cards a year, which is every other month, plus a birthday card with a small gift.   

 

Your “B” clients need to receive a similar high‐touch campaign as the “A” clients, but you don’t need to give a gift for the birthday.   

 

Consider your “C” clients as those who receive an investment in line with their likelihood to place another order with you, and set up a campaign that includes four cards per year, which is once a quarter, plus a birthday card.   

 

You must understand how your customer perceives your card when they get it in the mail, so a brief discussion here is warranted…

  • Postcards are great as a marketing tool.

 

  • A two‐panel card can be used as a relationship tool because it’s simple and brief. A two‐panel card is one that has something on the front and they open it up and on the inside is a panel that has a  message.

 

  • Typically, a three‐panel card is used as a marketing tool because there’s a lot of space on three panels to put a lot of information. A three‐panel card is when you open it up and it’s super wide and has  three panels that open.

 

  • Then there’s something called an oversized big card. That could be used as a both relationship tool for fun and to get noticed, or a marketing tool because it also has a lot of room for information. It has way more room to put pictures, and also to write copy, than a regular‐sized card.   

Mary Kay Ash

 

Who’s heard of Mary Kay Ash? Well, she’s the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. Mary Kay said that her key to success was to make your people feel important. She taught her sales reps to send three handwritten thank you notes every night before bed.

 

Today, Mary Kay Cosmetics has more than 3 million consultants in over 37 countries worldwide, and has wholesale volume in excess of 3 billion, with a B, dollars. Now that’s a beautiful business.     

 

Harvey Mackay

 

He’s a business person, author, and syndicated columnist. Harvey became the top salesperson for an envelope company and used his commissions to purchase an insolvent envelope  manufacturer with 12 employees in 1959.

 

Today, his company, Mackay Mitchell Envelope Company, employees roughly 500 employees, produces 25 million envelopes a day, and has sales of approximately 100 million. Harvey is well known for his book Swim with the Sharks, in addition to many others.

 

He says, “Short, handwritten cards yield long results. In sales, never underestimate the importance of the personal gesture. Right at the top of the list of effective personal gestures sits the handwritten card. Always send memorable cards and personal notes when you are reminded of a person.”    

 

Bob Burg

 

He’s an international best‐selling author on entrepreneurship and creating powerful business relationships. Bob is the author of a number of books on sales, marketing, and influence with total book sales of well over a million copies. He’s best known for his book Endless Referrals. He speaks to Fortune 500 companies, franchises, and numerous direct sales organizations around the world.

 

The American Management Association named Bob one of top 30 leaders in business. He was named one of the top 200 most influential authors in the world by Richtopia.

 

He says, “Thank you cards are one of the most powerful tools in building a huge network, both professionally and socially. People with the most impressive networks are typically avid card writers. It’s one of the best techniques for long‐term winning without intimidation. I suggest getting into the habit of immediately sending out cards.”    

 

Danielle Kennedy

 

She’s a real estate legend. By the fourth year of her career, she closed on 105 homes while raising a family of five children. She says, “Write customers personal, handwritten cards frequently. If you run into an old customer anywhere, follow up with a handwritten card.”

 

In this electronic communication age of email, the handwritten card with the postage stamp gets more immediate attention than ever.

Today we’re going to talk about Tom Hopkins, the number one sales trainer in America.  

 

Tom Hopkins

 

Now let’s talk about Tom Hopkins, America’s number one sales trainer. He’s most recognized as America’s number one sales trainer and the builder of sales champions. Tom Hopkins began his career as a real estate agent in the 1960s. He was failing miserably and was only earning an average of $42 a month until he invested his last few dollars in a sales training seminar. Within five years, he went from failure to building an annual sales volume of over $14 million. That was in the sixties.

 

Over an eight‐year period from 1964 to 1972, he helped 1554 families with home ownership and closed 365 transactions within a single year. Tom Hopkins rose to the nation’s number one sales position setting records that still stand today. Eventually, he moved into sales management with the company and developed their office into the number one performing office in the company.  

 

Tom has authored many books and sales training programs including How to Master the Art of Selling. What was his secret weapon? Well, no matter what, he sent 10 handwritten thank you cards every single day. He made this a habit. Tom Hopkins had a thank you note habit.

 

Thank you for talking with me on the telephone.

 

Thank you for meeting with me.

 

Thank you for your business.

 

Thank you for your kind referral.

 

Thank you for the excellent service you have provided  for me.

 

Thank you for taking your time to consider letting me serve you, and he would send those after they refused him.

 

Thank you for taking your time to  analyze my services. He would send those after they bought from somebody else.  

 

And then he would also send thank you for using our service or product sent at the one year anniversary.   

 

He has a quote that says, “Because I understood that building relationships is what selling is all about, I began early in my career to send thank you notes to people. I set a goal to send 10 thank you cards every day. Guess what happened? By the end of my third year in sales, 100% of it was referrals. Those that follow‐up will end up on top. Those that keep in touch, will never have to prospect. Those that build a referral base, will never have to worry about where their next referral is coming from.”

So let’s talk about the reasons that customers leave…

 

    • 1% pass away
    • 3% move away   
    • 14% are lured by a competitor   
    • 14% are turned away by product or service dissatisfaction   
    • 68% leave because of experiencing a poor attitude or perceived feeling of indifference.

 

Those last three reasons alone represent 95% of the customers who leave your business and they are all avoidable reasons. Just imagine if you were able to count on repeat orders from 95% of your clients, what a difference that would make in your business and your bottom line.

 

Of course, you may not be able to keep all of those 95%. Some folks are never satisfied and others refuse to believe that you are ever giving them a fair deal, that’s fine. Those are not the type of clients you want anyway.     

 

But look at that bottom number, this is the number that represents the number one reason that clients leave, experiencing a poor attitude or perceived feeling of indifference. They are literally leaving because they think that you don’t care. They don’t think that you’ll notice. They don’t think you’ll do anything about it and are they right?  

 

This number represents a totally and 100% avoidable reason for losing clients. It’s just completely unnecessary.