Be Proactive to Keep Customers Coming Back

Joe Weinlick
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Repeat customers are a valuable asset for a business. Because it is more expensive to secure a new customer than to find a new one, effective customer retention can lower your costs and increase your profits. By taking a proactive sales approach to maintaining your current customer base, you can increase repeat business and build better relationships.

According to a 2014 CLIENTpulse survey, 90 percent of customers who leave a business do so for good, taking with them the resources you invested into building the sales relationship. Thanks to the Internet, customers are more aware of their options than ever before. If the service or communication from your company is not up to par, a client can simply jump ship for the next best option. To keep your customers coming back, employ a proactive sales strategy that maintains and builds the positive initial relationship.

It is not uncommon for companies to spend a great deal of time and energy bringing in a new customer. After the first sale is complete, the effort often drops off quickly, leaving the customer feeling abandoned or ignored. Continued communication is one of the most important elements of a proactive sales approach. Sales professionals at small businesses can send a personal email or make a phone call a week after the sale to see if the customer is happy. Offer advice that helps the customer get the most from his purchase, or send a document that addresses common questions. Check in regularly to keep your company's name in the top of customers' memories and reassure them that you care about the relationship.

Sales professionals who employ a proactive sales strategy must anticipate the customer's needs. Consider how customers use your products and identify the times when they might need to resupply, perform maintenance or purchase replacement parts – and then get in touch with customers in advance of those needs. If a customer purchased a yard rake in October, you might send a special coupon for a discount on snow-removal supplies before winter hits. Anticipation requires a solid understanding of the sales cycle and consumer behavior. Depending on the size of your company, you might consider conducting customer research with surveys or using big data for predictive analysis.

For a customer, it is frustrating to offer feedback without a response. It's even worse when companies ignore customer feedback and continue on their current path. A proactive sales perspective requires you to seek out customer responses and give them due consideration. Rather than allowing survey data to disappear into the ether, analyze it and look for trends. A pattern of complaints is a clear indication that you need to change. When you do make changes, keep customers in the loop to demonstrate your dedication to their satisfaction. Customers who offer feedback and see results often feel empowered and impressed with your responsiveness.

A proactive sales approach often requires a considerable amount of legwork up front, but your efforts can pay off in the long run. Keep customers happy in the present to boost repeat business and build long-lasting brand loyalty.


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