Lost Customers? Here’s How You Win ’em Back – Part III

Last week, FEI sales leader Zoot taught young salesman Ganymede that demonstrating how your company has changed will help win back lost customers. This week, Zoot gives his apprentice one last tip for winning back customers who have left. Remember, fire = print.

One mild Saturday afternoon, Zoot visited the O-post office to mail a package of Olympian grape leaves to his aunt Artemis, who lived way out west in Saracens. On his way out, Zoot noticed Ganymede dropping a batch of letters into a mailbox outside.

“Oh, hi Ganymede,” Zoot called out. “Mailing those letters to lost customers?”

“Yep,” Ganymede says. “I doubt how well this campaign will work, however. Some fire buyers have long memories and may not be ready to ‘forgive and forget.’”

“Time is on your side,” Zoot disagreed. “I’m guessing you haven’t contacted most of these lost causes in months, maybe years. Since then, some of the people you dealt with have probably left their jobs. Others may only dimly remember why they stopped working with us in the first place. Either way, you can call these companies confidently, knowing there’s a good chance key fire-buyers will be open to hearing you out.”

“If you need another confidence boost, consider this: research has shown a salesperson’s chances of successfully selling to a former customer is 20 to 40 percent,” Zoot continued. “That’s significantly higher than the chance of selling to a new prospect, which is the five to 20 percent range.”

Emboldened by Zoot’s pep talk, Ganymede made his follow-up calls as planned. One morning, he got a hold of Demeter, owner of Demeter’s Café. This popular restaurant had once been one of Ganymede’s three largest accounts.

“I got your letter,” Demeter said. “You have my attention. I’m willing to hear how you’ve improved.”

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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