In an earlier article, I spoke about how important it is for sales professionals to fine-tune the way they attract new clients. The same is true of client retentions. To become a top-ranked sales professional (and to stay there), it's vital to have a system running all the time designed specifically to help you hang on to your existing clients so that they call you again and again for new business. I'll explain why this is important, and then we'll consider the steps you can take in your own business to implement a personalized client-retention system designed to help you sell more to more people in less time.

It's a habit, not a hobby
Sales people and business owners may already be familiar with the statistic that suggest that it's anywhere from five to 20 times less expensive to sell to existing clients than it is to land new ones. Less common, however, are those who heed that advice and adjust their sales strategy so that client-retention activities are as habitual as prospecting. And yet that's precisely the level of commitment that's required to make your client-retention efforts successful over the long term.

The secret to success in sales is to emulate what the top performers do on a regular basis. Make their business habits your own. When you're consistent in your efforts, you get more opportunities than ever before to fine-tune your work—and that's the hallmark of a professional. However, there's an even more important benefit. Consistent client-retention efforts send a powerful message to your customers that you're serious about maintaining a deep, long-term relationship with them and are willing to prove it on a regular basis with hard work and even a little creativity.

Be unconventional
Make a point of looking at what other successful sales people and organizations are doing to win repeat business from their clients. It doesn't matter if they are in a completely different line of work from yours. If the ideas they are executing are solid and are producing results, the odds are good that you can find ways to import them into your own business.

A Lead-Up Platinum-level member of Engage Selling recently shared with me a great example of how they adopted this approach in their work in agricultural sales. They noticed that no one in their industry was using direct-mail marketing, and yet they also knew that this is among the most powerful marketing tools out there. So they took a chance. They launched a direct-mail campaign that included attaching a one-dollar lottery ticket along with a handwritten note that said don't risk missing our pre-order deadline…take a chance on this lottery ticket instead! The phone started ringing and didn't let up for a very long time. Some customers even won some money in the lottery. So it really was a win-win opportunity!

Find field-tested approaches to complement your own strategy
There's no denying that it can be time-consuming to be constantly scouting for client-retention activities and mining them for great ideas. That's why it's important to find learning opportunities where you can quickly gain ideas from others who have implemented their own retention strategies and can show you first-hand what works well in organizations of all sizes. This is a topic that I will be covering in great detail at my upcoming Sales Mastery Workshop in Chicago (reserve your spot today if you haven't done so already…seats are very limited and we're nearly sold out!) Specifically, I'll be helping participants develop their own client-retention template, complete with "how-tos" for building deep, trusting relationships with prospects and clients quickly and more easily than before.

In conclusion, I've spoken before about the importance of having a personal philosophy for success — that no matter what you are selling, you are your own brand. When you take the time to develop a personal approach to sales, those efforts get noticed. That's why it pays to invest in a client-retention system. By adopting proven strategies — even the unconventional ones — and investing in opportunities to learn from the pros, you'll be shaping an approach to sales and customer retention that's as unique as your personal signature.

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Nonstop Sales Boom by Colleen Francis Make sure you check out Colleen's latest book, Nonstop Sales Boom for powerful strategies to drive consistent sales growth quarter after quarter, year after year.

Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions ( Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.

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