How To Increase Sales and Customer Retention By Doing, Not Planning

by | 23 Oct 23

I’ve just finished reading this incredible book called ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. It’s a fantastic blend of theories, research findings, and practical tips to help you build habits that can really make a difference.

You might think from the name, it’s all about tiny tweaks, right? Well, yes and no. You see, James really digs into how these minute changes, when turned into habits, can have a massive influence on achieving your goals.

So, are you looking to boost your new sales figures? Want to take your upselling and cross-selling to the next level? Or maybe you’re trying to improve a less-than-stellar customer renewal rate?

Here’s some great news – this blog post is going to break down the ‘atomic’ changes you need to make and how the first month will set you up for ‘astronomic’ results.

Table of Contents

Use these links to jump straight to the part of the article that interests you most.

> Planning or Doing
> Quantity over Quality
> Other Examples
> Increasing Sales and Customer Retention

Planning or Doing

Let me tell you a little story about two friends, Gary and Barry. They were just chatting, sipping on their coffees when they realised they both had this burning desire to learn guitar. So, they made this pact to start their musical journey the following month. But here’s the thing – ‘learn’ meant something totally different to each of them. And only one of these definitions led to actual results.

Let’s talk about Gary first. He spent the month researching the best way to kickstart this exciting new endeavour. He mulled over which learning program would be the best fit, scoured the Internet for the perfect beginner’s guitar, and even wondered which chords he should tackle first. He was so engrossed in mapping out his plan that he never actually got around to strumming a guitar that first month. Lots of planning, zero action.

Now Barry, he was a different story altogether. From day one, he was all about taking action. He popped into his local music store, picked up a guitar, and hopped onto YouTube for a beginner’s lesson. And he kept at it, day after day for that whole month.

So, who do you reckon made more headway that month? No brainer. Barry!

And how many chords could Gary play versus Barry? Well, Gary, with all his planning and no practice, could play a grand total of zero chords. Barry, on the other hand, after a month of practice, was already strumming at least three chords. And, some of the greatest songs ever written only use three chords! Ever heard of ‘House of the Rising Sun’ or Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’?

Sure, planning is important – actually, it’s necessary. But remember, a plan without action is just a dream. Gary’s planning turned into procrastination, while Barry planned quickly, and then jumped right in. And guess what? He got results.

Quantity over Quality

Fellow customer success and sales folks! Let’s be honest, we’ve got some serious pressure on us. We’re carrying the hefty weight of a business’s revenue generation. So, every task we tackle, it’s gotta be top-notch, no question about it. But here’s the thing – quality work doesn’t just happen overnight.

Think about it.

  • Did Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs create the epic Apple Mac on their first try? Nope.
  • The first song penned by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, was it a chart-topper? Nah, it didn’t even make it onto an album.
  • And let’s not even talk about the first time you tried to dress your kid, right? It’s a struggle, but it gets better, it gets easier!

The point is, that getting to ‘quality’ takes practice. You’ve got to dive in, give it a shot, reflect, and then refine your approach. And you’ve got to keep at it!

  • Struggling to get meetings with existing clients? Time to shake things up and just go for it.
  • Finding it tough to generate leads? Hunt down a fresh method and put it in action!

When you embrace this mindset, you’ll see more progress in one month than if you just sat around thinking and researching. Otherwise, you’ll end up like our friend Gary, remember him? All plan, no action.

So, do quick research, find a good approach, implement it, review it, and then refine it. Rinse and repeat. This way, you’ll beat procrastination, and build new habits, and by the end of that first month, those habits will be second nature. Then, fine-tuning your actions to boost effectiveness will be a breeze.

Action fuels planning. And when you’ve got that down, you’ll turn quantity into quality!

Other Examples

So maybe strumming a guitar like Gary and Barry isn’t your thing. That’s fine! They won’t be offended!

But their story and the whole ‘Quantity Over Quality’ mantra? It’s a golden rule that applies to pretty much anything you’re looking to get better at. Let me paint you a picture.

Want to get fitter? You could spend hours online hunting for the top gyms in your area. But you should just join the one nearest to you and get started. Give it a few weeks and you’ll be feeling more energetic, mentally sharper, and physically stronger.

Want to write more blogs? You could dive deep into researching the best publishing platforms, the ideal tone of voice, and the most compelling call-to-action. But you should just start jotting down your thoughts and post them on LinkedIn’s free blogging feature. Stick to it every week and you’ll see yourself improving with each blog post. In a month, you’ll have four blogs under your belt.

How about reading more? You could sift through countless reviews of this year’s best books. But you should just pick up a book in a genre you think you’d enjoy and make it a daily habit. Before you know it, you’ll figure out what you love to read. And soon enough, you’ll be flipping through a new book every month.

See where I’m going with this? You can apply this approach to anything you’re aiming for.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying planning isn’t crucial. It is! But don’t let your planning morph into procrastination. Do some quick research, then leap into action.

Remember, lots of action will guide your ongoing planning. And before you know it, you’ll be turning quantity into quality!

Increasing Sales and Customer Retention

So the headline of this blog post is ‘How To Increase Sales and Customer Retention By Doing, Not Planning’. I reckon I’ve hammered home the ‘Doing, Not Planning’ bit pretty well with all those examples. Now let’s talk about how this approach can boost your sales and customer retention rates.

The remedy to a weak sales pipeline or slipping customer retention rates? It’s simple – more face time with your prospects and customers.

If you’re a salesperson hunting for new business, we’re talking 10+ meetings every week with potential clients. For the customer success and salespeople aiming for upsells, cross-sells, and improved customer retention rates, it’s the same deal – 10+ meetings each week with current customers. Bottom line? You need meetings. Lots of them.

You could start your hunt and whip up a list of possible strategies, like these, for instance:

  • Setting up sales funnels and email sequences from your website
  • Launching more email marketing campaigns
  • Dialing up your prospects and customers
  • Rolling out a Social Selling and Influence Method

Once you’ve got that list, you could start digging into whether you need software, training, or consultancy for each. Then you could begin compiling a list of software providers, training companies, and consultants. After that, you could visit their websites, watch their videos, sign up for their newsletters, and so on.

But you should pick one strategy and get it rolling. Fast. Reflect on what you’ve learned after the first month and tweak as needed.

You could spend that first month mulling over what you might do, you should actually get down to doing something about it.

If you sit on it, you’ll blink and find yourself two or three months down the line with no additional customer meetings each week. No extra sales. No uptick in retention rates.

It’s time to get moving!

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