19. Retaining current customers is 6–7 cheaper than acquiring new ones
It’s not a new sales enablement statistic, but it’s just as true today as it was in the past. It’s cheaper to keep your current customers happy than to spend time finding new ones.
Is follow up a scheduled part of your weekly sales actions? Do you ask ‘What’s next?’ with each sales opportunity that closes? Like asking for referrals, staying connected with current clients is low hanging fruit (I dislike that phrase, but it works, doesn’t it?), and doing both will likely produce a 15% increase in business without relying on the company to drive new prospects to you. Make it part of your workweek and practice with other team members before you make any ‘warm’ calls to clients.
If there is encouragement for salespeople to do this, then it must be a priority for a sales manager to check on the actions and the results they are achieving. Be prepared to practice with your team and help them to develop ‘learned dialogues’ that make keeping in touch with clients easier. Knowing that there is value in this sales silo is not as good as taking actions to mine for those opportunities….as actions are the only things that produce results.
17. Only 13% of customers believe sales reps understand their needs
Take the time to listen. Too many buyers complain that salespeople do not fully understand their needs and problems. You cannot sell a solution for a problem you don’t know about.
It is said “Customers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” and listening deeply is a fundamental skill for every salesperson to take on as a process of continuous learning. Forever. Take it on as a practice, like meditation and yoga. Find different ways to learn questioning skills – as a form of communication, connection, and problem-solving – and not just as a selling skill. Practice asking “Tell me more about that…” in EVERY conversation. Practice BEING inquisitive and interested. Practice asking questions to take a conversation deeper than surface level and see what happens.
AS a Sales Manager, BE the example of listening skills and practice. Ask yourself:
• Do I ask questions to help my sales team members to discover solutions or do I tell them what to do?
• Do I consciously practice developing MY questioning skills with my salespeople, with support people, with customers?
• Do I fully appreciate the skill of asking questions and deeply listening to responses?
Is there room for me to grow in this area? Am I willing to take that on?
16. Salespeople who seek out and use referrals earn 4–5x more sales
A whopping 91 percent of customers say they would be willing to give referrals for companies and products they are happy with, but only 11 percent of salespeople ask for them!
Salespeople Yikes! These are crazy numbers! And yet, as I read them I know that AS a salesperson, this is my weakest area. Maybe it’s habit, maybe it’s discomfort asking for more than the sale that was just closed, maybe it’s a lack of skill or language to ask with confidence. In any case, it needs to be an essential element of the sales process and of sales training and coaching.
We can focus on marketing actions all day when the closer and more intimate action of asking for referrals lays dormant. Let’s give this a shot and measure the results. Make it a 90-day experiment with frequent reminders, inspection, discussion. This will change when sales managers take this on as a priority and share results with the team.