Any good salesperson knows that a prospect that knows a lot about your product or service before you even reach out to them is like gold. The hardest part of sales is getting attention and having the opportunity to educate the prospect on all the great things you do and provide. With this in mind, who should be one of your best prospects? Past clients! Right?
Great thing about past clients is they are aware of your company, what you do, who works there, and probably how much you cost. The worst thing about past clients is they are aware of your company, what you do, who works there, and probably how much you cost.
Here’s a few do’s and do not’s for how to prospect these past clients.
Do get the history of this past client from the associates who worked with them most closely. They will have a ton of useful tips and selling points that can help move you to a win sooner and sooner.
Don’t take everything your told as the definite truth. Associates have a tendency to carry any sort of positive or negative as how a client will always act. Guess what? Most people don’t want to talk about the past and if they do they probably won’t be great clients. What have you done for me lately. I’ve had a lot of my success in my career in changing perception of my current company with past clients or new industries.
Do provide updates on all the great services/products you have added since you last worked together. Lead with the new stuff. Again, what have you done for me lately.
Don’t rely on past successes to get you new work. You stopped working together for a reason, so that past success doesn’t earn you as much credit as you might think.
Do find new associate prospects within those past client’s company. Even if it’s only been a short time since you worked together, there’s a good chance that the people you worked with before may have moved on or moved up. It’s crucial to get more people introduced to your company and build a stronger network within their HQ walls.
Don’t expect everyone to remember you. If you are working in a similar industry as me, most of these people have 100s of vendors that are reaching out to them. You aren’t as special as you think, so don’t rely on your past “friendship”. They’ve moved on!
Do use new clients to engage with past clients. What do I mean by that? A good way to re-engage with past clients is to have your new clients tell them how great you are. If you just rely on the past work (again, don’t!), you are less likely to re-engage. If they hear about what you are doing now with XYZ company, they are more likely to remember the great things you did together and open up to some new products/services.
Don’t think that every past client is a great prospect. You should always be optimistic, and are they a great place to start? Absolutely. Should you put all your hopes of reaching your goals on re-engaging with those past clients? No way! They are past clients for a reason. They may just need a new perspective, or they may just be the worst. The key is to find that out for yourself and not rely on past associate’s perspectives.
So open up the archives. Find those past clients. Do your homework as you would for any prospect. Strategize on how to move forward. Now act!