Four Must-Win Conversations to Keep and Grow Your Customers

The Expansion Sale e-book will give you research-backed messaging strategies for customer retention and expansion.

As a native Midwesterner, I grew up with an unhealthy phobia of tornadoes. Thankfully, my hometown had the foresight to install a siren warning system that would alert the populace—all 600 souls—to a looming threat should the occasion arise.

The town tested the siren every day at noon, sounding a minute-long ear-shattering blast, rain or shine. Yet somehow the townspeople managed to ignore the piercing wail and go about their business, a few fondly referring to it as the “noon whistle.”

Then one memorable day, the skies darkened. The clouds began to rumble. And the siren went off at 3 p.m.

Thankfully, no tornado touched down in that little town that afternoon, and none have officially touched down in its entire 200-year history. But in that frantic moment, a lesson in marketing, sales, and customer service was born.

Turns out, it wasn’t about the siren at all. It was about the context of the situation the siren was in.

No one cared about the screeching siren when it was doing its thing at noon every day. But when the situation changed to threatening, everyone cared. And they responded accordingly.

It was the different environment that made the siren irrelevant one minute and invaluable the next. It had nothing to do with the tensile strength of the horn or the decibel levels it put out.

It’s a phenomenon called the Context Effect.

The Context Effect in Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success

The Context Effect is defined as the influence of environmental factors on the perception of a stimulus.

The Context Effect is essential to marketing, selling, and customer success as well. It’s not your products or services that get people to respond. It’s their environmental factors, their current situation, that determine their perception of your solution.

Chief among these environmental factors is whether they are a prospect doing something else with someone else (or perhaps doing nothing at all with anyone) or whether they are your existing customer doing that thing with you.

The Context Effect calls for you to develop and deliver a message differently to prospects versus existing customers.

After all, their environment is very different when it comes to responding to your products and services.

But wait! You say you don’t message differently or you’re unsure of the distinction? Then our new book, The Expansion Sale, is for you. And it will completely change your perspective on—and approach to—marketing, sales, and customer success.

The Expansion Sale collects years of exclusive research on the difference between customer acquisition and customer expansion messaging. While there’s been plenty written about how to get new customers, this book will show you how to keep and grow the customers you already have.

After all, according to many analysts, your existing customers represent 70–80 percent of your revenue and growth opportunities. Yet most companies take the same one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, sales, and customer success when renewing and upselling existing customers as they did to acquire them in the first place.

Recent research proves this will backfire—badly. In fact, the psychology of the existing customer is 180 degrees different from the psychology of a prospect. That means the stories and skills you use to communicate with them need to be 180 degrees different as well.

Four Must-Win Commercial Moments

There are several things you must do after winning a new customer that are vital to the customer’s experience and satisfaction, including onboarding, change management, adoption, and utilization, not to mention ensuring your customer achieves the results you promised.

These are all important, but the Expansion Sale doesn’t focus on these day-to-day customer success activities.

Instead, it focuses entirely on the four must-win commercial moments in every customer relationship:

  1. Renewals
  2. Price increases
  3. Upsells
  4. Apologies

These are the acute scenarios in which you rally your organization’s marketing, sales, and customer success resources to keep and grow your customers. They’re also the tense situations that register highest on the revenue “Richter Scale,” where much of your (and your company’s) success hangs in the balance.

It’s in these moments you need science-backed message frameworks and skills, rooted in decision-making science and the invisible forces that shape how people frame value and make choices.

The Expansion Sale E-book

If you’re interested in The Expansion Sale but haven’t yet bought your copy of the book, check out our newly released interactive e-book.

Think of this e-book as the Cliffs Notes version of the book. You’ll get specific, practical, and actionable approaches to create and deliver your message for maximum impact in your customer conversations. And after you read the e-book, pick up The Expansion Sale for even more research and insights.

Get The Expansion Sale interactive e-book.

Tim Riesterer

Tim Riesterer

Chief Strategy Officer

Tim Riesterer has dedicated his career to improving the conversations marketers and salespeople have with prospects and customers. His books, “Customer Message Management”, “Conversations that Win the Complex Sale”, “Three Value Conversations”, and "The Expansion Sale", focus on improving market-ready messages and tools that marketers and salespeople can use to win more deals. As chief strategy and research officer for Corporate Visions, he sets the direction and develops products for this leading marketing and sales messaging, content and training company.

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