Use Social Selling to Retain Past and Current Customers

Learn how social selling can help you gain traction with existing and former clients.

June 28, 2016

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Sometimes we drive to the supermarket for new ingredients when everything we need for a great meal is right in the pantry.

There are lots of good reasons to use the pantry instead. It’ll be less time-intensive, and you probably already know how to use these ingredients to make a tasty dinner.

The same could be said about your customers.

Kevin Thomas Tully of Sales For Life reminds us: “It’s six times easier to sell to an existing client than it is to generate new business."

The stats in favor of aiming your sights on retaining current clients (rather than chasing prospects) are overwhelming.

One study showed that boosting retention rates by just 5% raises profits by 25% to 95%, according to Bain Capital and Harvard Business School.  

Focusing your sales approach on keeping current clients happens to fit very well with social selling, which is all about letting your customers know you’re available as a long-term, renewable resource—that you’re someone offering useful insights on the trends that affect them, not just aiming for one big sale.

Here are some main tips to use social selling to retain current and former clients.

Keep Watching Their Industry

Let’s say you already completed a successful six-month campaign to help a clothing manufacturer boost B2C sales. That doesn’t mean you should kick off your shoes and relax.

Rather, keep your foot gently on the gas. If you pay close attention online, you may discover another opportunity where you can sell your services.

You can accomplish this by liking the company’s page on LinkedIn so you see the firm’s updates. Also follow any of the company’s influencers on Pulse (and comment on posts with praise or unique insights).

Set up Google Alerts so you know when the company or your client is mentioned, follow industry blogs, and join the LinkedIn Groups associated with the industry.

When you notice some important news—like a policy change that affects the industry or internal news like the company’s expansion—you can pounce with an idea to help the company navigate.

Promote Their Company—With No Strings Attached

When you see that your current or former client’s company does some self-promotion on social media, act as an amplifier.

If the firm announces a new product, a job opening, or a prestigious award, promote the company on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks.

When doing so, avoid mentioning the work you did for them. It’s all about showing that you want the client to succeed.

Showcase Your Work

If you completed work that can be displayed, post the work to SlideShare, which will appear on your LinkedIn profile. Depending on your relationship or contract, you may want to ask for permission before you post.

Another way to show you’re proud of your work is to highlight it (again, if appropriate) in the experience section of your profile.

Write a Recommendation

Writing a thoughtful recommendation takes time. And it makes people feel valued. So writing a brief note about why it was seamless working with the person and how they are effective shows that you value the relationship going forward.

Be Consistent

Especially if you haven’t engaged with a client in a few months, look for an opening to ping him or her over email or social networks so that you stay fresh in the person’s head.

You should be sharing your client’s social updates when appropriate and looking for opportunities to insert yourself in conversations the person is having.

Remember, you already have your client’s trust—the most important currency of social selling. Now all you have to do is stay consistently engaged.

In other words, open that pantry door a lot. That way, you won’t need to go shopping so much.

For more recipes to find your social selling competitive advantage, download our latest eBook