Lost Customers? Here’s How to Win ’em Back

Last week, FEI sales leader Zoot taught young salesman Ganymede how to fight prospect loyalty to an existing provider by establishing FEI as the number two choice. This week, Zoot gives his apprentice another valuable sales lesson: How to win back lost customers. Remember, fire = print.

Zoot was leaving FEI headquarters late one night when he noticed Ganymede, still in his office burning the midnight oil. (Literally. He had an oil-fueled torch at his desk).

“Great work today,” Zoot told the young gun. “Now go home and get some rest!”

“I can’t!” Ganymede replied anxiously. “I’m haunted by the ghosts of FEI’s lost customers.”

Zoot approached Ganymede’s O-puter and saw he was looking over an O-sales database. Highlighted in an ugly red font were the names of several of Ganymede’s former customers.

“These are my ‘lost causes,’” Ganymede explained. “I’ll never do business with any of these companies again. I know it!”

“How do you know?” Zoot asked, wishing the rookie was a bit more optimistic.

“I haven’t connected with anyone on this list in months,” Ganymede lamented. “Some left because of a blown deadline, some because of poor customer service, some simply for a lower price. I just wish they’d give FEI another chance. But they won’t!”

“Don’t be so sure,” Zoot said. “Our company has changed since the last time you worked with these customers. It’s time to contact your ‘lost causes’ and show them why they should give FEI another shot.”

Ganymede looked helplessly at his screen. “How? I don’t even know where to begin.” Then he snapped his fingers and exclaimed, “I know! Why don’t I offer these customers reduced pricing? That’s a surefire way to get them back. Plus, price is probably why many of them left in the first place.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Zoot cautioned. “Let me explain this in terms a youngster like you can relate to. Ever had an ex-girlfriend you tried to win back?”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or tj@tjtedesco.com.
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  • Todd

    Isn’t the Travelocity success story an example of lowering prices to win back customers?