As we all know, it’s easier and cheaper to do business with existing clients than it is to find and sell to new clients. Yet what about past clients? The ones you have worked with but have lost contact with. They know you and you know them. The problem is you have no idea if they have simply not needed your services of late or, if in fact, they have gone elsewhere.
It’s Easier Than Looking, Looking, Looking…
Re-establishing contact with past clients, and re-igniting your sales leads, is a great idea. It’s cheaper than continually looking, looking, looking for new clients. The question is, 'How do you go about it?' without spending vast amounts of time on the project.
Contacting ex-clients via LinkedIn is a possibility, although time consuming. Besides LinkedIn is fine for re-establishing contact at the personal level, it is not really about re-establishing a working relationship at the business level.
E-Mail with Follow-up Phone Call
To my mind the approach to take is to send an e-mail followed up with a telephone call. Depending on the numbers of past clients, this can be best done by placing previous clients into broad groups.
The groups based on the service they used, the industry or sector the firm operates in or some other common denominator. The beauty of this approach, is that the past client is forewarned about the phone call, so there's no particular need to create individual emails.
The 'More Experienced' Approach
When re-establishing contact, start the e-mail with the person's first name. Then move on to say that since you lasted worked with them, you've gained considerable experience in the field of X (as in the grouping you have placed the client in). Finish the e-mail saying that you will give them a follow-up phone call in a day or two.
As an alternative to having gained more experience, you could talk about how the law has changed, how best practice has evolved, how you've noticed (via their website, blog, LinkedIn, newspaper article, etc.) they have been working on XYZ and that this is an area you have been focusing on. Or you could say that having recently completed the such and such project that you thought would be of interest to them. In other words, whatever is decided, it relates to a change is circumstance.
The 'Value Added' Approach
Or you could adopt a more sophisticated approach - what I refer to as the ‘Value Added Approach’. By adopting this approach, it's not so obvious that you are trying to drum up more business. In this approach, you refer them to a Special Report, News Item, eBook, White Paper or some other free offer (a service we provide) that could be of benefit (as well as of interest) to the client grouping. The trick is to create a client-focused campaign based around the common factor or grouping previously identified, offering something of high value to them (and ideally, of relatively low cost to you).
Again, following-up telephone call a day or two later is essential if you are to re-establish meaningful contact and make a sale.
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