On Valentine’s Day we talked about the “romance” in sales and how developing long term customer relationships is very similar to developing long term personal relationships.
Today I want to give you seven steps that will keep your prospective customer relationships alive. Follow these steps and you will find that the relationships you develop will be productive and flourish for the long hall.
Prospective Customer Relationships:
- Be Pleasant and Fun: I realize that this is a “no-brainer” to some. But it is not a “no-brainer” to all. Sometimes in sales, you can be so focused on moving the relationship forward in the sales process that you don’t even notice that you “forget” to smile, be genuinely interested in your prospect as a person, and extend the common courtesies that you would to any friend.
- Thank You Notes: After every meeting or significant interaction, send a handwritten thank you note either on a normal thank you card, or a 3.5 X 8.5 post card (see the book Endless Referrals by Bob Burg). Your goal should be that they get a thank you card from you so quickly that it sets you apart. I even had a good friend who sent a thank you note to a business owner who not only said, “No” but was also a bit rude to him. After receiving the thank you note, the business owner called him and invited him back in to do business. The owner said, “You are the first salesman to ever send me a thank you note for running you out of my place of business! I like you!”
- Consistent Meaningful Contacts: Follow up, follow up and follow up. But bring value in each contact. Sometimes the value is social – take them to lunch. But always bring something tangible that they can directly use in their business, or that directly relates to establishing your value to them; magazine articles, industry news etc.
- Contact Management System: You MUST have a great contact management system where you can keep notes on people, communications, dates, future strategies and contact plans. That system has to have the ability to keep you on track with reminders on future activity. Do NOT think your memory is enough.
- Recognize Personal Moments: Send out birthday cards, Christmas and holiday cards, work and personal anniversaries etc.
- Patience and Persistence: Target accounts generally take longer to close than the smaller sales. Be patient and persistent.
- Be focused on providing more in the relationship that is valuable to the prospect than to you. When you focus on them and their needs it truly raises the relationship to a higher level.
Tomorrow, we will discuss seven steps that will keep the “romance” going with your existing customers.
How many of your current prospects in your funnel would describe the relationship between you as enjoyable?
What can you do to increase that feeling in them?