Why People Stop Buying You

We are all in sales and we all have someone we want to buy our ideas.

This concepts applies to official sales reps and then to the rest of us. We are all in sales and must get a lot of other people to buy into our ideas. Think beyond the official “selling” to customers, but we will cover that too.
One of the hardest sales is getting someone to marry us. That is huge. Think about it. Will you spend the rest of your life with me? I didn’t say “will you spend a few years working with me or being my customer,” I said, “will you spend the rest of your life with me?” That is selling at its finest. Or how about selling your teenager on doing the right thing? Or selling your fellow employee on doing what is best for the company?

First I want to cover the subject of:

  • Why customers go away from companies

Sales reps work very hard to get new customers, but normally only after a company has gone through considerable expense to market their product or service and then get leads. Once the valuable lead is in hand, the designated sales rep makes contact or frequently makes multiple contacts and then closes the sales. For most company this is tragically where the selling stops.

According to a national survey (Gallup® if I recall) I found some time ago, the key reasons customers leave are:

  • 4% died
  • 5% moved away
  • 9% found better service
  • 14% had a specific grievance
  •  68% because they were treated with indifference

Now you have little or no control of someone passing away or moving away. So let’s move on. Some will truly find a different product or service that is a better fit. Good for them. Then there are those who have specific grievances and these many times can be resolve. And because you stepped up and resolved the issue, the relationship was strengthened for the long term. This leaves the last one which is over 2/3’s of everything – being treated with indifference. This basically leaves the customer feeling that you just don’t care. Then the customer leaves you.

How does this happen? Many sales reps are incentivized to close deals, not maintain deals. If you promise the moon and deliver much less, the shine will quickly wear off.

Looking at the last two reasons, we realize this makes up over 80% of everything. Therefore, a company and its sales reps can be in total control of over 4/5’s of keeping a customer or not.

Given the high price paid to find and acquire a new customer, you would think it valuable to do a better job managing these relationships.

The second subject can be somewhat painful so I saved it for last.

This is the selling we all do in our everyday lives to our bosses, our co-workers, our subordinates, our spouses, our children, etc. Let’s go back to the biggest sale of our lives – marriage. Almost no one goes into a marriage thinking it might fall apart one day. Well if you are over 30 and reading this article, that has happened to approximately 50% of us. We certainly meant well and wanted everything to work. But why didn’t it?

Probably some variation on this:

  • 4% died
  • 5% moved away
  • 9% found better service
  • 14% had a specific grievance
  • 68% because they were treated with indifference

The good news is, we can be in control of well over 90% of all of this.

We have to keep selling and avoid sliding into indifference. Most all of us are guilty of selling hard to close this “marriage” deal and then forget to keep selling and maintaining the relationship with the ‘customer.’ I know I am guilty of it way too often. There is travel, schedules, deadlines, and bosses, but in the end we all have to come home.

But what about relationships with bosses, co-workers and subordinates. Don’t these relationships need maintenance too? Of course they do. But it is very easy to forget about how important these people are to our lives.

So now you know: you are in control of most of it.
Everyone’s in sales, yet we all need to work on getting better at it.

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