You have customers that you are actively working with.
Or I hope you do!
And you have lapsed customers – the type that you did something for and things are just sitting there now – waiting till they come back to you or you approach them.
And you should kick yourself in the arse if you’re not doing anything to keep in touch with them. But that’s a topic for another day.
Today I want to talk about something a little different.
I got the idea last week when I was scrolling through the <Customers> folder on my computer. And I noticed there were some ex customers in there – people I’ll never do business with again. Of course for archiving purposes I need to retain some project detail. But I also wanted to reduce clutter.
So I moved them to a new folder – <ex_Customers>.
And what struck me were the innocent reasons why they’re ex-customers:
- One closed his restaurants and so doesn’t need any more customer satisfaction surveys.
- One graduated from college and didn’t need any more tutoring on research.
- One decided not to proceed with opening a pet crematorium – unique idea eh?
- One changed career to reduce stress and to create space to reconnect with his semi-estranged son.
- Another retired.
And what’s common to all the above is that none of their “departures” reflect on my performance.
I’m going to hypothesise that you too have such ex-customers – customers whom you can no longer sell to – through no fault of your own.
What has this got to do with your business?
It’s not enough to simply service your current customers well or even to find out how to make them even happier. Neither can you passively rely on their goodwill to get you referrals. You need new customers – if only to offset the type of benign attrition I mentioned above.
You need to actively sell & market whatever it is that you do!
And I’m the exact same. My November is definitely not where I want it to be in terms of new sales. Maybe it’s partially seasonal. Maybe it’s partially because I’m extra busy with delivery and that’s reducing my business development bandwidth.
But that doesn’t matter. Most businesses have cycles. I’m just saying that you’re a fool – and I’m a fool – if we just rely on servicing existing customers.