One of my first ever assignments when I set up in business as a growth strategist was to help a 12-man coaching and consulting firm get back on their feet. They'd gone from £1.5m turnover to £500k and it was painful.
So I went in, asked a few questions, and asked why they weren't going back to any of their past clients. Their response flummoxed me: "if we've done our job right, then they shouldn't need us again."
Here was a firm whose clients included major banks and insurers, national newspapers, and public utilities.
And they had never been back to them.
No wonder they were struggling!
I pointed out that big corporations change continually, and suggested they offer to do a "check up", just to make sure their clients were still practising what the firm had told them.
Over the months that followed they implemented that and my other recommendations. The next time I checked in, they had got themselves back to £1m turnover.
Earlier this year I was coaching a relatively new coach and the same issue popped up again. I asked her how many times she sees a client on average the answer was four. She knew that because she sold a package of four sessions.
"Don't they ever re-sign at the end of the four sessions?" I asked. "I don't ask," was her reply!
By the end of our session she had designed an advanced coaching package to take back to her past clients and get them to sign on for the next phase. And then another one after that...
So why is selling to old clients so important?
Getting a new client from scratch is 10-50 times more expensive than selling to an existing one. So once you have a client you must consistently re-sell that client for as long as you maintain a relationship with them.
The more you re-sell, the longer the relationship.
The longer the relationship, the more money you make.
Now, as usual I have a question for you: which clients have you allowed to lapse? And what new product or service could you take back to them to complement what you've already given them?
And how much would it be worth to you to revive that relationship?