Pending Business: The Assumptive Renewal

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. –Will somebody please tell me who came up with this annoying habit?

Just email a schedule to a current client, build in a price increase attributed to everything from “political” to demand, and push your client to authorize.

No check-in or results or performance conversation, just a “please sign and return so I can start your schedule on Monday.”

That whole process is what I call an “assumptive renewal.” No selling, just administrating the path to the next commission check.

The assumptive renewal seems to be a weak sister to the subscription renewal offers common in the printed magazine or newspaper business. No need for feedback on whether you like or dislike the newspaper as it is most likely the only daily standing (so take it or leave it). I left it. And guess what? When subscription levels tank, out come the discount deals.

Yet the assumptive renewal is in full force in one of the most competitively priced business environments in the country: radio advertising. It makes me wonder if anyone in management thought through this short-cut strategy that brings no value to the seller-buyer relationship. Classic sales and management training shows that the client you currently have is the most efficient next sale you will make. So why jeopardize that sale by assuming anything? Why not work harder to protect that relationship from the competitor looking for your weakness.

Let’s look at a quick checklist to help your next renewal:

  • Are you managing expectations of performance?
  • Is your feedback loop two-way or one-way?
  • Are you up to speed on changes at the client level?
  • Does your client view you as an insider advocate?
  • Have you reviewed next step goals?
  • Do you share the “no surprises” philosophy.
  • Do you adjust and respond quickly when performance drifts?
  • Are you ready with some level of incentive for a renewal?

Assumptions can often be the beginning of the last chapter in a business relationship. Communicate, collaborate, coordinate. The three C’s of sales relationship success.

Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: