It’s getting to be that time of year… when we start looking ahead to next year and thinking about and planning for how we’re going to move our business forward (and upward). To help with that, we present this 6-part blog series. Each week, we’ll outline a different – and fairly easy to implement – activity that you can employ to get a leg up on revenue growth in 2017.
Part 1 – Pick up the phone!
Answer these two questions…
- How many different clients did you do business with in 2015?
- And how many of them have you done business with again in 2016?
The difference in those two numbers is your “lost clients.” [Note: the same goes for clients you did business with in 2014, 2013 and so on… who are no longer your clients.]
Sure, some of those lost clients can be explained away pretty easily… it was a one-time project, the company was acquired, etc. But the point is, you lose some percentage of your clients every year. And over a few years, that can grow into a pretty good-sized pile of lost business.
Remember, these were companies – with key contacts – who, at one time, knew you, liked you and trusted you enough to do business with you. But now they’re gone.
So, task #1 in preparing for revenue growth in 2017 is this… pick up the phone! Reach out to those clients you’ve lost over the past 3 or 4 years and try to re-connect with them. If they’re not interested… you’ve lost nothing. But maybe… just maybe… they’ll also be interested in rekindling some sort of business relationship with you.
On a related note… as you look through that list of lost clients, what percentage of them did you lose because your key contact left (laid off, retired, took a position elsewhere)… and with them went your relationship with that company. [Note: our research shows that this is the #1 reason clients are lost.]
When that happens, turn to LinkedIn. Search for those key contacts to see if they landed somewhere else that also might be an opportunity for you. If so… pick up the phone!
OK, so when someone answers the phone, what do you talk about? First… do not make this a hard-sell call – you don’t want to polarize this person right out of the gate. Remember, this was a valuable client with whom you had a relationship, so start by just talking, one person to another:
- “How have you been since we last chatted?”
- “What’s new at [company name]?”
- “Are you still doing what you were doing before?” [If not, who is?]
- And if they left the company: “Tell me about your new role and your new company?”
Just talk with them and see if it leads to a business/project conversation. And if not on this call, save it for the next one. This is not about a one-time connection… it is about re-establishing (and then nurturing) an on-going relationship.
The key to success with the ideas outlined above is simple, but it’s not easy: set aside a block of time every week and commit to making a certain number of calls. And don’t stop until you’ve hit your goal.
Want to get a jump on revenue growth in 2017? Pick up the phone!
Make sure to check back next week for Part 2 of this series.