In the 80’s, I worked at a retail furniture store. If you wanted to be a successful furniture store in the 80’s, you ran double truck ads in the newspaper every week. You were on the radio with a nauseating jingle every hour of the day. Drive traffic to the store. Have salespeople ready to pounce when the customer walks through the door, except one guy. Murray never took walk-ins on Saturday because he had booked himself solid all day with customers that had been referred to him by happy customers the week before. Interestingly, Murray was always the top salesman because he had built himself a business within the business of his employer. Also, if you think about it, if his employer stopped advertising, all of the other salespeople would have no one to talk to and essentially be out of business, but Murray could keep getting his referrals and keep making sales.
Murray had a system. He called his customers. If you bought a living room set from Murray, you were gonna get a call from him each of the first three months that you had the set and every year for the rest of your life (or in this case, Murray’s life. He died a few years ago. Good guy!) His customers believed that he cared. They would have followed him wherever he went. He didn’t need advertising. He had his evangelists.
It’s the 21st Century and I’m not advocating that anybody stop advertising, cancel their trade shows, or shut down their websites to build a ‘by referral only’ business, but the thing that we can learn from Murray is why his customers loved him.
So, this is the third article in my effort to maximize MRR by eliminating churn. If you haven’t already read the first two articles, you should read Net Sales - Why Do My Customers Go Away? and Why Do My Customers Go Away? Sales! before proceeding. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
I feel like I need to remind you that the first two posts were NOT written for solos and this one is no different. Sales organizations have different issues. They're concerned with scalability. They're concerned with a repeatable process. They're concerned with efficiency.
Ready. Here we go. Five steps to making easier sales AND eliminating churn.
- Have everyone in your organization read SalesShift. When an inbound lead raises their hand, they want it to be taken by a warm, caring hand and will never want to let go as long as it stays that way. Frank offers several techniques that will help your prospect feel safe.
- Have your salespeople incorporate evangelism and lifetime relationships into their salesprocess by planting the seeds and sharing what it's like to BE one of their customers.
- Get everyone in your organization active on social media and intertwined with their customers social media presence. When one of your customers does something good, get your salesperson to start the ripple on social media. The more customers he has, the bigger the wave will get which will get him more hands raised and more customers.
- Design a client retention system for your salepeople and get them to do it.
- Find an analogy that works for each of your salespeople to explain relationships. Carole Mahoney uses dating analogies. You can also find scientific, sports, psychological and many other analogies.
- Yes! The answer to eliminating churn is to grow relationships that develop evangelists. Guy Kawasaki's title was Chief Evangelism Officer. If you're experiencing churn, you've got to grow evangelists.
- Yes! I'm talking about getting referrals. True story: I was talking with a salesperson a while back that got a referral and that the referral purchased after a 2 hour sales call. His typical sales cycle is 8-12 hours. He asked if I could teach him to get more referrals. Why? Do the math. (Caution: I am not advocating a 'by referral only' approach. Inbound Marketing, done right, is absolutely the way to attract new customers and I love it and practice it. I also enjoy and am good at trade shows, networking events and a few other things, but none of those methods give you the head start that a strong referral offers.)
- Yes! It fits with the Inbound Methodology and is scalable. Imagine what happens when your salesperson calls their customer after 30 days and asks for a success story or lesson learned. A 5 minute conversation tells the customer that your salesperson cares, might get info that account management didn't, might get something tweetable. might get a referral, if it's done warmly and genuinely.