Profitable Top Line Growth

Andy Birol, Birol Growth Consulting

10 Winning Ways To Win Back Wayward Customers

As George Costanza said in Seinfeld, “It’s not you it’s me!”

Well if it is your fault you lost a customer you really need back, what can you do?

Rather than simply grovel or cut your prices which will kill your margins, here are ten steps you can take.

10 Win Back Tactics by Andy Birol

10 Win Back Tactics by Andy Birol

  1. Provide a warranty if your product was faulty.
    If your product or service was deficient, offer some kind of insurance to assure your customer it won’t be their problem next time.
  2. Find another buyer within your customer if it’s bad blood.
    Often there is someone else in a bigger company who you can start over with, especially if what you offered had a good track record before your relationship turned sour. Go over the buyer’s head if you have nothing to lose.
  3. Sell to another department if they start buying for different reasons.
    Why customers buy your services or products can change over time. A purchasing department can make decisions until their company has legal or customer problems at which time their finance or marketing departments may now have the final say.
  4. For a while, give away your products or services for free if you broke your promise.
    Sometimes a customer just needs to see that you are punishing yourself for your own transgressions. Take one for your team if you screwed up in this way. They may regain their respect for you for doing so.
  5. Change your value into a service if they won’t buy your product (or vice versa.)
    Sometimes buyers are no longer allowed to outsource what they used to buy and must make it themselves. For example, if they cannot pay for your maintenance services, you could sell them the training or the components they need to do their own maintenance.
  6. If you have been serving this customer for a long time, reexamine what it really costs you to do so.
    You can cut your price if it’s become cheaper to serve them. Or you should do so if there are now better alternatives on the market. Yours may just not be worth what they once did.
  7. Change what you sell into an expense if your customer’s CFO won’t approve your product as a capital cost.
    Often, capital spending is prohibited but monthly expenses continue to be budgeted. If this is the case, change what you offer so it can be paid for by a different budget category. For example, if they cannot buy new vacuum cleaners, sell them cleaning contracts.
  8. Sell your wares through a distributor if customers start to need smaller quantities or more service.
    Perhaps your service has declined as you pursued larger customers. If so, get a third party to sell and service your customer properly. You sure don’t need to make as much if you are doing less.
  9. If they won’t buy it by the unit sell it by the hour or the result.
    So many times buyers are told to cut costs by cutting out inventory. So sell them all they need by the hour.  Make sure you can profit by providing them with coverage if they need the result of your product.
  10. If you didn’t ask for permission, you can legitimately beg for forgiveness.
    Sometime, you just have to fall on your sword and admit you should have been more deferent, collaborative or considerate. Unless you made a mistake that was evil and premeditative, humility is a winning virtue!

Having witnessed and made so many mistakes over the years, I have seen all of these ways work wonders to win back a client. And once repaired, a formerly damaged customer relationship is always better than it ever was before the problem occurred. Here’s to your winning ways!


Filed under: Business Growth, , ,

Five Tips For Growing Your Business Profitably During A Recession

Consider the following scenario:

You run a successful business with a lot of good opportunities for growth. You have developed the products and services, and the people and skills to sell them and deliver on what you promised. In addition, just when you are ready to really roll, here comes a recession that threatens to derail your plans and worse yet, even your dreams. Why?

  • Your sales people tell you that customers and prospects are pulling back on purchases
  • Your banker is overly interested in your receivables and loan covenants
  • Your suppliers are over eager to load your supply chain up with “too-good-to-be-true” offers

You don’t want to catch or spread their negativism. However, your finance manager says you should be cutting back your expenses and inventories, and your spouse is beginning to ask whether the slowdown is going to affect that vacation you have been planning. What can you do when you do have faith in your business’ opportunities, especially during a recession?

  • De-commoditize Your Offer: Find ways to make what you sell more valuable through its features including packaging, pricing and its added functionality.
  • Seize Your High Ground: If everyone is competing on price, then become the premium brand and make your offering less abundant and scarcer.
  • Sharpen Your Value Proposition: If you know your customers need what you sell but have trouble justifying what you charge, you must make it more compelling. Narrow and sharpen how you define what you sell and what it does for your customer.
  • Market Like You Mean It: Reinvest in and increase your spending. If you believe in your products and services, telling your market so is imperative. Just as tax cuts stimulate spending in the economy, by advertising your service you will increase overall demand for what you sell.
  • Seek Out Winners: There are other companies in the economy whose owners think just like you do. Find the owners and companies that are and plan to stay winners. Do business with them and share in your success. There is nothing like contagious enthusiasm to encourage everyone within earshot!

Filed under: Business Growth, , , ,