Create Fusion Points with Existing Customers:
Many salespeople thrive on “the thrill of the hunt.”
They enjoy searching out new business. They enjoy the process of conversations and recommendations. And they LOVE to close the sale!
“Argh! Argh! Argh! Argh!” (in my best-typed impression of comedian, Tim Allen).
But after the sales have been closed, they are pretty much through with the whole idea and would prefer to assign the responsibility of all future contacts to someone else.
Many companies have a business model which encourages that mindset.
When I was in the industrial uniform business, it was my job to make the sale and follow the process until delivery, and then I was to leave the rest to the service department as I hunted for the next sale.
There are certainly valid reasons that companies make the decision to use that particular business model. But I would always recommend further contact from the salesperson to develop the relationships further and create fusion between your customer, you, and your company.
Follow these suggestions and follow-up to make existing customer relationships stronger.
Give and Gain Meetings: Get twenty minutes with the company owner or decision maker. Tell them that you have an ever-expanding sphere of influence and that you would like to help them in their business. Ask them this very high-impact question: “What do I need to ask my contacts in order to find out if they would be a good referral for you?” Then refer business to them consistently and frequently. They will naturally do the same for you. We will discuss this further in the chapter on generating referrals.
Mind Your Business: Make sure you and your company always follow through in taking care of the promises you make during the sales process.
Give Them More: Within reason, based on profit and loss, always find ways to give more to your customers than the compensation you receive in return. Find ways you can creatively add value at no real expense to you or your company.
Continue the Romance: Keep doing the steps above that you used when you were trying so hard to turn that prospect into a customer. Customer relationships—just like personal relationships—will go bad if you stop doing the things that made the relationship so great in the beginning. I have heard it said that men look at the wedding date as the finish line—and then stop romancing their wife in the same way they did during the courtship. This type of “bait and switch” is a killer in personal relationships—as it is in business relationships.
Bake Cookies: It really doesn’t matter if you actually bake cookies or not; do something special for your clients on a regular basis. I actually did bake cookies for many of my clients. They were shocked that a man could (and would) do such a thing. They loved it!
Develop Real Friendships: Be a friend, and make friends with everyone you meet in the sales and service process. This applies not only to decision makers but also to those who have no part in the decision. The goodwill you generate by doing so always comes back in some form or fashion.
Remember the Platinum Rule: Becoming an expert in this single principle is one of the strongest relationship builders you will ever find.
“We have all heard of the Golden Rule—and many people aspire to live by it. The alternative to the Golden Rule is the Platinum Rule: Treat others the way THEY want to be treated.”
—Dr. Tony Alessandra