“Having an 80 per cent retention rate delivers ongoing residual income and means I devote less time to winning new clients, so I have more time to help existing clients to succeed," says Harris
How do you keep customers satisfied long term? Berkeley Harris knows and unlike many sales, management and leadership consultants he’s keen to share his tips. Berkeley, managing director of Sandler Consulting in Bristol, retains 80 per cent of his small, medium and large business clients for two years or more - a major factor in him being named Sandler UK’s Franchisee of the Year and being a finalist in the Customer Engagement category of the 2019 British Franchise Association HSBC Franchise Awards.
He says: “Having an 80 per cent retention rate delivers ongoing residual income and means I devote less time to winning new clients, so I have more time to help existing clients to succeed. Everybody benefits.”
How does Berkeley achieve such high levels of customer loyalty? “It’s about finding out what my clients want and delivering it,” he explains. “Every quarter I meet each client and use the Sandler Client-Centric Satisfaction tool to determine what they need from me. It ensures I deliver what they want, rather than what I think they want. It keeps them on board longer.”
Discovering client needs starts early on. “With new clients, I go out with their sales teams to see what they do well and where the headaches are,” Berkeley says. “This is something I have elected to do myself and I’m sure it helps my service stand out.”
Training for all
And his training is not restricted to sales teams: “Poor sales performance can often be remedied by company-wide training. Sales is part of every job, so we provide training to everyone, including managers, managing directors and chief executives.”
Berkeley is also unafraid to tweak his methods to suit clients. He is one of several Sandler UK franchisees who deliver training abroad.
“Training is delivered in English, which is a second language for many participants, so I always include 10 minutes at the end of each module for them to read the training materials,” he says. “They appreciate it so much that the practice has been adopted by Sandler globally.”
Ahead of the rest
Berkeley could have set up his own training consultancy, so why did he choose the Sandler franchise?
“As a former franchise manager at a healthcare practice franchise, I had been involved in training, but I knew I didn’t have enough content to avoid repeating myself,” he says. “Sandler provides a consistent stream of new training content and franchisees can take the new training modules themselves. We use the methods we teach clients because they work.”
As a former deputy chair of the British Franchise Association, Berkeley also used his extensive knowledge of franchises before choosing Sandler: “I liked the fact that Sandler’s training content and programmes were applicable globally and 10 years ahead of the rest - and I’ve seen a lot.”
Fiona Thomson, operations director at Sandler UK, says: “We look for franchisees who, like Berkeley, care deeply about their customers and create long-term relationships with them.”
At a glance Sandler Training
Established: 2004 in the UK
Number of franchised outlets: 30-plus
Location of units: nationwide
Investment range: £55,000
Minimum required capital: £20,000
Contact: Shaun Thomson firstname.lastname@example.org sandlerfranchising.co.uk