Winning back lost customers

Even the best salespeople lose an account every now and then. But they also know that if they approach their former customers properly, many may come back.

Here are some ideas from Kristina Susac, consultant and sales trainer, that may bring lost customers back. Share them with your salespeople:

  1. Start with the former customer. Ask for specific reasons why the customer left. Sometimes the answer is something the salesperson can control – like service – and other times it’s not, like price. Finding this information will help determine how you should approach the situation.
  2. Review the account history. If the former customer refuses to go into specifics, you should be prepared to do some research. Check the account records carefully to see if there were any problems with delivery or complaints about quality that went unanswered. Try to come up with a plan to fix the problem, then share it with your former customer.
  3. Check with other departments at your former customer’s company to get more information. Maybe the account was lost because of a decision made in accounting or credit. You can’t fix what you don’t know .
  4. Don’t let the experience affect other accounts, especially if you uncover negatives that led to the loss of business. Try to repair the problem and, if it’s significant, explain the situation to your present customers before they cancel, too.

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