You worked really hard to finally win over that customer you have been chasing for three months. Yahoo – they bought! You celebrated over the weekend with adult beverages. And then you found out a week later that they cancelled. #OUCH
What happened? They seemed so with it. My presentation rocked. What do I do now? Should I call them? But I’m pissed and confused and embarrassed. I really don’t want to talk to them. Ugh.
I have been in this situation hundreds of times.
But after 25 years in sales, I learned along the way several things that I could have done to reduce cancellations in the first place. And also how to win them back.
7 Reasons Customers Cancel
You are selling instead of letting them buy
People love to buy but they hate to be sold
When you sit down with prospects, it’s important that you create a buying atmosphere, not a selling atmosphere.
- Have a sales conversation, not a sales talk. Ask them many questions and discover what their true need is.
- Let them know that some people buy from you, and others do not. Give them permission to tell you ‘No’. Bob, many people buy this from me, and others don’t. It’s no big deal either way. But when I get done in a few minutes, can you either give me a big thumbs up or a thumbs down. Thanks.
- Ask qualifying questions during your presentation (take their temperature). What do you like about this so far? How would this have been valuable to you in the past? Do you see why everyone’s getting this? If their answers are luke warm, don’t pressure sell them. Move on to a better prospect.
You are too aggressive or pushy
Sometimes people buy just to get rid of you. And then cancel once you walk out the door.
Learn to read buying signs and ask qualifying questions during your presentation. As mentioned before, if they are not 100% dialed in to what you are doing, move on to a better prospect.
You oversell your customers
Salespeople earn more commissions the more they sell. And too often, salespeople will sell the $1000 package when the customer really only needed the $350 package.
Treat prospects the way you want to be treated
You can always upsell later when you follow up. But if you oversell your customers at the first point of sale, you will experience a high number of cancellations.
When you receive the phone call ‘We just can’t afford this’, offer to lower their package to a lower price-point.
The boss or spouse doesn’t approve of the sale
Oh Lordy, I hate this reason for cancellations. He said we don’t need this. She said we can’t afford this. He said we already have something like this in place.
What this means is that the decision-maker doesn’t understand the value of what you are doing (and the person who bought from you didn’t do a good job selling him/her on it)
Ask up front if the person you are selling to is the key decision-maker. If not (or if it seems 50/50), then pause or reschedule your presentation until the decision-maker can join you.
When you receive this phone call, offer to come back immediately and meet with the boss or spouse. Once they can meet you face-to-face and hear your full presentation, there is a very good chance they will approve of the sale.
Credit card breakage
If the payment for your product or service is processed on a monthly or annual basis, you will lose quite a substantial amount of business each month because of credit card breakage. This means the payment simply won’t go through due to expiration dates or insufficient funds.
At the time of sale, pay close attention to the expiration date on the card. If the time of sale is May and the card expires in August, then you are going to lose their business after three months. Ask for a method of payment that doesn’t expire so soon. Or be very proactive at calling your customers 1-2 months before their card is due to expire and get an updated credit card processed.
When your customers cancel, make sure you find out why. Many times they didn’t intend to cancel at all. It’s the ding dong credit card that’s not cooperating!
You didn’t stay in touch…in person
Let me define ‘staying in touch’. No, it is not a mass generic email that corporate sends to your customers on your behalf. Staying in touch with your customers means you are seeing them face-to-face at least one time per quarter.
When people are emotionally tied to you, they will stick with you when the competition shows up at their door (even if their service is better than yours). No thanks, I already have an awesome rep who takes good care of us is what you want your customers thinking.
If you don’t make regular face-to-face visits, they will flee as soon as a better offer is on the table.
Schedule follow up days where all you do on those days is visit clients. Bring in some pizza, bagels or doughnuts. Take them to lunch. Show them new updates your company is offering. Ask for referrals. Stay away from email and see your customers in person. The extra effort pays itself back tenfold!
** You didn’t coach them what to do when they thought about cancelling
This is huge. I learned later in my sales career the importance of coaching my customers what to do when they felt like cancelling. I talked about it head-on before I left their home or office.
Bob, thank you so much for your business today. In 6 days, 6 months or 6 years you might think of letting this go….whether it be for financial reasons, your boss isn’t happy with your decision, you aren’t using this as much as you had hoped or because a competitor comes by. If you ever think about cancelling, call me directly. Here is my personal cell number. I am happy to come show this to your boss, figure out a different payment plan or do a side-by-side comparison with any competitor. I want you to be a customer for life, not just for the next few days. Cool? 🙂
You wouldn’t believe how many sales I saved because they called me directly (not corporate).
Don’t fear cancellations. Embrace your customers who have an open line of communication with you – especially when they want to cancel
Small adjustments will have a big impact on your sales and retention. If you put to practice just 1 or 2 of the tips above, you should see a reduction in your overall customer cancellations.
What tips do you have for reducing cancellations? If there is something working well for you to help reduce cancellations, share in the comment box below!
(photo by Pexels)