June 15

Winning New Customers vs. Keeping Existing Customers


new customersBusiness Growth Strategies To Ensure You Do Both 

A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided it was time to upgrade our insurance.  We had just finished some renovations to our home and completed some big updates. These projects were years in the making and we were excited to be done! We could not remember the last time we had our policy reviewed and with the changes to the house, we felt we really needed it.

We have been with the same insurance company for more than twenty years. And while we got a bill every month we had no idea who our insurance agent was. We were trying to remember if we had ever met him or her. We dug out an old bill, found a phone number, and called to introduce ourselves to our long-time agent. Yes, I am being sarcastic… We then invited our agent to come out to our house to look around.

Our agent was actually a really nice guy. He was in love with the changes we had made to our house and he had some great ideas on how to we could save a little money on our insurance. As he left, he stopped on our front stoop and launched what I can only assume was his best attempt at a Hail Mary pass. I am guessing that he was very aware that in more than twenty years he had never called us. Having sensed that we were less than pleased, he wanted to share how important this relationship was to him. He tried to prove how hard he would work to make us happy.

I started shopping that afternoon. I am now in the process of moving agents and companies. Understand that no matter what you say, no matter how strong your skills are, if you are not actively working to keep your existing customers then no Hail Mary Pass, no matter how good, is going to save you.

According to the Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent (source). That is a powerful statistic. It is easy to understand why we need to focus on keeping our existing customers as much as we do on gaining new customers.

Just like the saying goes with money, it is not how much you make it is how much you keep. The same applies to your customer base. It can cost you 6 to 7 times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep an existing one. Attracting new customers is an important strategy for the growth of your business. But you need a strategy in place to ensure all that effort you invested turns into a long and loyal relationship.

All too often we “win” the customer and then just assume they are happy and will remain a customer.  In a marketplace where customers have a choice, your competition is actively trying to win your customer base. You better be actively working to meet your customers’ needs and make them happy. In today’s economy, the growth of your business is dependent upon your ability to expand your existing relationships as much as it is on finding and winning new ones. You need to be able to do both, and here are the strategies you need to ensure you get there.

3 Business Growth Strategies to Winning New Customers

  1. Get Above The White NoiseThis is a crowded marketplace. No matter how good your product or service is, it is easy to get lost in the sea of advertisements, promotions, and sales people. To win new customers you need to stand out from your competition. Here are 12 companies that have mastered this strategy and the step-by-step guide on how they did it:  http://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/branding-differentiation
  1. Tune In – if you want to win new customers you need to tune-in. In other words, you need to listen. That may sound so simple, but in the world of sales and business growth, listening is grossly underrated. When we listen to customers two things happen. First, if we just pay attention, customers will tell us exactly what it is they need (how to sell to them). Second, by listening we send a strong message that says we care, we are interested and they are valued. There is no better market differentiator then that.
  1. Follow-upthe chances that you will call on a customer at the exact time they need your product or service are slim to none. If you want to win new customers you need to stay in the game. You need to have a process in place to stay highly visible and get your prospects to engage. With that first step, you have begun the process of turning your prospects into your customers. Follow these ideas on how to master the follow-up https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240439

Once you win the customer, the goal needs to be to keep them. In today’s economy, the growth of your business is dependent upon the happiness of your existing customer base. Believe me, no advertising or sales strategy is as powerful as a referral or testimonial. Plus, with existing customers you have done the hard stuff: they like you, they trust you, and they are ready to do more business with you.

3 Business Growth Strategies To Make Sure You Keep Them

  1. Be Easy – the number one indicator of loyal customers is probably not what you think it is. It is not a great customer loyalty program or great advertising. It is not name recognition, lower prices, or  even higher quality. The number one indicator of customer loyalty is how easy it is to do business with you. So if you want to hold onto your customers long-term you need to understand just how easy you are to do business with.
  1. Proactively Add Value – If you want to increase your business with your customers you have to do two things: you have to ask them what they need and you need to tell them what you have to offer. It is not your customer’s responsibility to know what products or services you have. It is not their job to understand how you can help them achieve their goals. It is not your customer’s job to understand how you can fix their problems. It is your job to proactively add that value.
  1. Create Community – and last but not least, in order to keep your customers long-term you need to engage them in your company. Customers need to feel that they are a part of something. People love to feel special, it is human nature and just a part of who we are. Building community is about engaging customers in your success. Give them input, and ensure have a stake in the success you are creating. Community is that extra step of really adding value and ensuring loyalty. Here is a great article on how and why to create community https://hbr.org/2013/02/building-customer-communities

I think this is one of the most exciting times to grow your business. However, success today is different than it was 10 years ago. So you need to understand the marketplace, the changing consumer, and the business growth strategies you need. Plan to win new customers and to keep the ones you have long-term. When you are able to do both, you will see true success in today’s economy.

Visit Meridith’s Educational Programs

Own It Book Cover with linesMotivational Keynote Speaker & Business Growth Expert, Meridith Elliott Powell works with clients to help them instill ownership at every level to ensure profits at every turn. Meridith is the author of several books, including her latest, “Own It: Redefining Responsibility: Stories of Power, Freedom & Purpose”. When not keynoting and leading workshops, she looks for inspiration cycling, golfing or hiking her favorite trail.  http://meridithelliottpowell.com


Meridith Elliott Powell

Voted one of the Top 15 Business Growth Experts to watch by Currency Fair, highly engaging corporate motivational keynote speaker Meridith Elliott Powell delivers a cutting-edge message, rooted in real-life examples and real-world knowledge. Meridith’s presentations are full of powerful content, highly interactive, and fun. She helps her clients learn the leadership development, sales and business growth strategies to turn uncertainty to competitive advantage.

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