By Caroline Creedon
The TEAR Method
Why do your clients start working with you? Why do they stay with you? Finally, why might they stop working with you?
Think of one reason for each of these questions. Note that that last one might not necessarily be that they end a contract, for many of us, our business offers a one-and-done service. In this case, what’s one reason a client might not recommend you?
Knowing these reasons helps us understand what we’re doing right and what we need to be doing better. Once we have these answers, it’s time to work out how to use them to our advantage and create change in our business where it’s needed. This is where the TEAR method comes in:
- Your team includes everyone who works alongside you, not just people who work for you. This includes suppliers, contractors, referral partners, etc. Your team can be pretty broad. Now, how are you going to take those answers and infuse that knowledge into your team?
- It’s up to you to educate your prospects and clients on the key reasons they should work with you, and continue working with you. Even more importantly, we need to educate them on why they shouldn’t leave, and this needs to happen proactively.
- How are you going to approach your clients to find out the answers to these initial three questions? What assessment tools or strategies are you going to use to gain the knowledge you need?
- Once you have all the answers, how are you going to reinforce them?
For many of us, starting to implement the TEAR Method begins with narrowing down a specific area of our business that’s falling short of client retention. At what stage in the client journey do they have the option to leave, and when are they most likely to do so? Does it happen with your customer service team, your intake team, or your warehouse team? Naturally,this answer will vary based on the type of business you’re in, but at the end of the day, it’s about finding the specific areas of your business that lead clients to cut ties.
For instance, you might discover that your intake process is quite complex and it scares people off. A solution to this might be to address that hurdle early on in the client journey by setting the expectation that the “onboarding” process is thorough before they’re faced with something they weren’t expecting and therefore aren’t willing to take on.
Once you’ve identified one key area for improvement, it’s time to implement the TEAR Method. Now you’ve made your way through the four steps, it’s time to reinforce those initial strategies that are going to help improve your client retention. This is when it comes to, as I like to say, not just selling the sausage, but the sizzle, too.
Every time you go to Bunnings, there’s a part of you that debates whether or not to get a sausage. Now, you may have decided not to get one, but as you get up to the front door and you can hear that sizzling grill and you can smell the sausage and onions cooking, it’s pretty hard not to jump in line for one.
What I mean by this is, when we’re approaching new clients or we’re trying to engage existing clients, we can’t just tell them we’re making sausages. We can’t just tell them about the things that make our business great. We need them to hear the sizzle, to smell it. In other words, we need them to experience first-hand what makes our business worth working with, and worth staying with.
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