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Launch 2011 part one: Appreciation

How to thank your customers
How to thank your customersiStockphoto.com

It’s that time when I write my annual “launch” article. As I state every year, we should have been launching the next year in late October because that is the right time but too many people wait until now or even January to launch the new year so here we go.

If you haven’t started to launch 2011 yet, today is the day. I will cover three steps in three articles: Appreciation, Focus, and Risk.

First, start with your list of every customer you sold in 2010. Did you finally get that CRM in 2010? If so, this is an easy beginning—just pull the report off the CRM. If you don’t have one yet, contact Denise Speer at C3 and ask about AddressTwo CRM right now—everyone in sales today needs a CRM and the cost is ridiculously low.

As you see each name on the list, pick up the telephone and call them to say thank you. Don’t ask them about 2011, don’t ask them for referrals, just tell them how much you appreciated the opportunity to serve them in 2010. Did this advice change from last year? No, and trust me, it will be the same in December 2011.

As you check that client off the list, make a note by their name about how you acquired them as a client—referral by whom, a business group, cold calling, email marketing, web inquiry, social media, prior client, etc. Also, write down exactly what you sold them and why they bought from you. If you don’t know why they bought from you, add that to your call. A simple, “Jeff, I really appreciate the chance to work with you this year and I’m curious…so I know what I am doing right, what is the one reason you have allowed me to serve you?” The answers will be part of the second step, so for now, thank them for helping you and just make notes.

If anyone mentions working together in 2011, go ahead and have the conversation and log it your CRM (there’s why you need one…again) and set the appropriate date for a follow through telephone call (in your CRM, again). If you don’t have a CRM, get one by Dec 31 (full write off of the free to $20 to $100 start up cost!) and make a big red star on your printed list next to that customer’s name about calling them back. Repeat the process until you are all the way through the list.

If you think you have too many customers to call, just consider that if you don’t call, next December the project might be much easier—you may have half the calls to make. That thought ought to make your calls a little more of a priority. Since many of your calls will result in you leaving a voice mail, you should be able to make 30-100 calls a day so this is a pretty short project. It’s a fairly quick touch, but incredibly valuable and gains more points than even a personally signed Christmas card.

In a few days, we’ll work on part two which is “focus.” Until then, start dialing and saying “thank you!”

Jeff Bowe is Principal and Chief Sales Strategist for ACTUM Group, a sales consultancy providing outsourced sales management to business owners and sales teams that need training, tactics, strategies, and processes for success...and who need to like each other again.

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