Not too long ago, I had the chance to host a webinar with PropLogix on how to create a winning sales strategy for your title business in 2019. In the webinar, I talked about some of the biggest myths I’ve heard from sales reps and title company owners throughout my 25 years of business consulting. What started out as a list of 10 myths quickly grew into more than 65!
I wanted to highlight one of those myths that can strain your relationship with current clients and put your business at risk: “I can grow my business by getting more orders from existing customers. I don’t have to worry about attrition.”
While it makes sense to focus on building the relationships you have with current customers and encouraging them to increase the amount of business they do, this might not be the best approach if your goal is to grow your title business.
Here are some of the pitfalls of relying on this myth, what else you need to focus on for revenue growth, and how to engage with customers based on where they are in the journey with you.
The myth: I can grow my business by getting more orders from existing customers. I don’t have to worry about attrition.
I often hear title company owners and sales reps say they have an order count problem, so it makes sense to focus on the customers you have first to get your numbers up. The problem is that this statement is simply wrong. You don’t have an order count problem, you have a customer base problem.
A healthy business will have a good mix of customers and focus on engaging and growing all of those customers. Diversity and knowing how to prioritize the needs of each type of customer are key.
There are three main types of customers:
- Your “loyal” customers
- Those who are trying you out
- Your ideal prospects
Your “loyal” customers
The myth of getting more orders is heavily reliant on another common myth held by businesses from all sectors. “Our customers are loyal.” Are you sure? How do you know? When was the last time you asked them if their needs and expectations are being met?
If you aren’t putting your clients’ needs first, actively measuring their satisfaction, and adjusting your process to meet their expectations, you may quickly realize that your most loyal customers may be just tolerating you until a better offer comes along.
Worse yet, if you try to pressure the customer you think loves you into giving you more orders, you might see that business actually decline.
Comfort saturation denotes the number of orders your current clients are willing to give you. If they are giving you 50% of their business, that’s what they’re comfortable with. The minute you try to get more business without adding additional value, you’ve left their comfort zone and made them uncomfortable.
I’ve seen some companies go after a client who was giving them 50% of their business, wanting at least 75%. As a result, that 50% became 30% because of the sense of pressure.
So, be careful! Your plan to push your current customer base for more orders could backfire. Taking your customer out of their comfort zone when they aren’t ready can put your relationship in the danger zone.
Give value to get more orders from these customers
In order to increase your clients’ comfort saturation, you have to give them a good reason. To get more you have to offer more. This means exceeding their expectations that you’ll complete orders on time with no errors. While this is good to know and reassuring, that’s the baseline expectation.
Impressive numbers on your company’s proficiency and accuracy might seem like something to brag about, but the truth is even business decisions are influenced by emotions. In order to build the value you offer and strengthen your relationship with your current clients, you should focus on understanding how they feel about your services.
Here are 10 aspects of relationship-building to focus on:
- Make communication easy and comfortable
- Reassure clients
- Treat clients as individuals
- Continually exceed client expectations
- Be a good listener
- Be a person (not an email)
- Set proper expectations from the start
- Own up to mistakes
- Ask for feedback and act on it
- Say thank you!
All of these are important for every customer no matter how long they have been doing business with you. Make sure everyone on your team buys into these principles and is willing to take the time to provide the same level of service to everyone.
You can’t grow your revenue without growing your customer base
While it’s important to focus on improving loyalty and increasing your customer retention rates, if you want to be able to weather the ebbs and flows of the market, growing your customer base is a must. The acquisition is equally important, and it should move in tandem with your retention efforts.
Customer retention is one of the best measurements you have to gauge the reliability of your services. If you see a dip in these rates unrelated to typical market dips, be sure to reevaluate your current process of closing sales, onboarding new customers, and your delivery of services.
What is attrition like in the title industry?
According to our research, attrition rates in the title industry are about 10-15%. So at an average of about 12% for the year, that means 1% of your customer base is lost every month. In order to maintain a healthy number of orders, you have to be growing your base at a rate higher than that loss.
Additionally, only 11% of new customers on the Realtor side stay with a new title company beyond the third transaction. Why didn’t they stay?
Onboarding new customers
The last thing you want to do is throw the money you spent acquiring new clients down the drain by having a disjointed and unpleasant onboarding experience. For a comprehensive onboarding checklist, email email@example.com.
Oftentimes, we see sales reps overpromise, leaving closers in a difficult position of under-delivering — often without even knowing it. As you work to grow your customer base, be sure to avoid this pitfall by having a consistent process.
When you receive your first order from a new customer be sure to:
- Ask the new client questions regarding their expectations and goals. This will give you an opportunity to evaluate any gaps in their expectations and what your services can deliver.
- Explain to the client why you want this feedback. At this point, your new client has most likely only established a relationship with your sales representative, so let them know you want to ensure their experience with the escrow officer or closer is exceptional.
- Be a person, not an email. Closers and escrow officers will be the ones handling the file, so they should speak to every new client.
- Do a soft handover of the file and their preferences to the escrow officer or closer by having them on the call. It’s a good opportunity for the closer to build rapport with a client.
- Have a basic script for your closers to follow, but be sure they relax and inject their personality into the call. The last thing you want is to have the process become repetitive and robotic.
Lack of connection and communication results in 95% of complaints from first-time customers. Establish those lines of communication early will mean better chances of new customers ordering again and again.
Next Level Prospect Engagement
The final key to growing your customer base is having a prospecting plan that fits your team’s bandwidth and maximizes their efforts.
Some quick tips to share include:
- Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals
- Follow a consistent schedule
- Try different approaches
- Leverage technology and social media to make connections
- Create prospecting scripts and practice them with someone
- Provide great solutions to problems, even ones that your company doesn’t provide
- Establish yourself as a thought leader and educator
- Understand that prospecting isn’t selling
This year at NS3 I’ll be sharing more insights on how to strategically qualify prospects for highest performance, time allocation management, and how to handle the most common objections. I hope to see you at this year’s event in Phoenix!