It happens to nearly everyone at least once.
Despite your best efforts to provide top-quality products and world-class service, you may lose a client for one reason or another.
What do you do?
What do you say to find out why the customer left and – how can you earn the business again?
How do you ask?
Not This Question
It could be tempting to call an inactive customer and ask: “Why did you stop buying from us?”
Not exactly the most tactful or effective way to ask.
Three compelling ways to ask why they stopped buying:
1.) “I’ve studied your account (or reviewed your file) and found that it’s been [length of time since they last purchased] since your company last purchased your [products they bought from you]. I’m concerned that you may be running low on [insert products]. Shall I send you a case today?”
2.) Last year we had the opportunity to supply you with your [products they purchased from you]. I’d like to ask you a couple of questions and give you some new information about benefits you may qualify for, so you can decide whether it would be worthwhile for you to take another look at what we could do for you in the way of [type of products they bought from your company]. Okay?”
If that doesn’t work, the following question should get an answer from the customer, so you will find out why they stopped buying from your company (This is the call that worked for me):
3.) “I know that not every company is perfect in every way. If there were a way you feel we could improve our products or our service, I hope you will tell me what that is. I would really like to know because I value our relationship (or: I hate losing your business.)”
VERY Important Next Step
After you say this, don’t say a word until the customer speaks.
It may be difficult to stay silent, but it is the only way you will get an answer.
Why will asking these questions win back inactive clients?
Because you have shown that you care enough to want to earn back their business.
And because customers appreciate attention after they have made a purchase.
“One of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is the gift of attention.”- Jim Rohn, Author
What Else Works?
When a telephone call does not work, an attention-getting email or direct-mail letter – with the right components – can remind inactive customers of the benefits you offer and what they may be missing.
A well-written letter – with a P.S. or note of enclosure beneath your signature – followed by a telephone call will let the customer know you care about their business.
Thanks for reading – here’s wishing you a happy and productive day!