Declining revenue is one of the reasons entrepreneurs and salespeople contact me for one-to-one coaching. Many have made the common mistake of focusing so much time and attention on current clients, they have few, if any, prospects ready to become paying customers.
I call this the revenue gap and, while it’s best to completely avoid it, if you do find yourself in this situation, there is a simple solution.
Here’s my quick – and very successful – remedy.
I discovered this solution several years ago when I was faced with my own revenue gap. My relationship with a long-standing client had grown to the point where their work accounted for almost one-third of my revenue. Nice as that was, their projects were time consuming and prevented me from following other growth opportunities for The Phone Lady. While it was an exceedingly difficult decision, I chose to end my fiscal relationship with that client.
Panic set in the following week as I faced the daunting task of replacing this revenue as quickly as possible. I had lots of warm leads, and I knew there would be plenty of new sales in the next three to four months, but the immediate future looked quite … uncomfortable.
The solution? I began to call all of my existing clients. In some cases I would simply say, “Getting in touch to hear about your business growth and how I can help.” Or I let them know about something new I was offering, such as, “I want to share that I’ve recently created this workshop and to find out if it’s a fit with your training schedule this year.”
Within an hour I had current revenue … and that continued throughout the day because … my existing clients already trust me.
Likewise for you and your clients. They know what you will deliver and can count on the results they will receive by working with you. When your call is timely, which it will be for many, the path from “Hello” to “Yes” will be short and allow you to quickly navigate your revenue gap.
Was this an awkward exercise for me? Yes, absolutely. It required focus and discipline to move through my client list alphabetically and dial each number. My negative self-talker, whom I call Doubting Doreen, kept shouting at me, “Existing clients know you. They will call you if they need you. Don’t bother them.”
But Doreen is wrong. Our existing clients, just like our prospects, are overwhelmed. They want us to take responsibility for staying in touch, offering new services, helping them prosper.
In fact, I should – you should – be contacting existing clients more often. This was clarified for me recently in my work with Stephanie Coldwell, Coldwell & Associates. Their third-party survey of my clients received a 53% response rate, revealing a strong desire for new training options from me and a 100% “Yes” to working with me again. Doubting Doreen won’t be yelling at me any time soon.
I’ve got work to do … and so do you!