You’ve heard the old saying, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity…” but how often are you preparing for or thinking about adding value to a client relationship?
Sales is often focused on prospects. Where to find them and how to sell to them? However, it is much easier to maintain a relationship than form a new one. With that in mind we should have a strategy to service our current clients, strengthen our relationship, and be aware of what they are doing. The fact is that your best client is your competition’s best prospect. We need a strategy to protect those clients. Many sales people put out fires with clients. If you wait to put out fires, eventually that client will burn out. Communicate with them and take a proactive interest in what they are doing. By keeping in touch with clients more you will have stronger relationships that last longer and result in more sales.
So what does taking an interest in a client look like? It means you touch base with them. Call just to see how things are going and if you can help them with anything. Clients will notice and appreciate that. Don’t be obsessive and call every week but communication on a regular basis is good. Another good idea is to review what products or services of yours they are using, how those are working and plans in the future. This lets you deal with any small fires before they become a blaze. It also lets you know what they plan to do in the future and gives you a leg up on offering products or services that might help. Use these conversations to be introduced to other people in the organization. There is nothing worse than having your only point of contact leave and have your relationship with the company dissolve because of it.
The final thing to do is the toughest. Ask them how you and your company are doing. Make it clear that you want some honest feedback. Look for criticism. Get some honest feedback. Ask your clients why they keep doing business with you instead of switching to competitors. We know competitors will come knocking and have a pretty good idea of what they will say. We might as well know how our clients will respond. This also provides a good opportunity to subtly coach them on what to say. Prepare them for all those features and benefits that the competition will throw at them. We are strengthening our relationship as well as constructing another barrier between our client and all those competitors. Knowledge is power and if you don’t ask you won’t know. Having this conversation makes sense for a simple reason. We review what our client likes about us, find out what they don’t like, and can take action to improve.