Written by Sean McPheat |
Many salespeople we talk to are happy to discuss their sales techniques and what they do right with their clients.
The topics often drift onto which customers they love dealing with and which they would sell to the devil himself if they could.
Oftentimes, we take these really great customers for granted.
By that I mean we continue getting great results with them but we expect that anyway, and we often forget to treat them as clients who we respect, admire, appreciate and rely on.
Whichever way you categorise ‘great’, you can sue this close relationship to build permanent partnerships, and it allows you to ask them questions that would seem impertinent or simply too brash with lesser customers.
Think of the relationship you have with your great customers as allowing you to get closer to them and get ‘under the skin’ so you can find out exactly what can and should be done to develop that partnership even more.
Here are some examples of questions to keep that closeness:
“What do you think our competition are doing better than we are?”
This question would be risky if it were to be asked of a new customer, but because the relationship is close with a great customer, it allows you to delve deeper into what the thoughts are of your buyer and what could be better, without risking the future business.
“If I knew something you were doing as a business was not getting the best results, would you like me to tell you?”
This question proves you have a consultative mind-set rather than one that is always looking for the sales opportunity.
It proves you have their business in mind and helps you and they retain that good partnership.
“What improvements would you like us to make in our products or services that I could take back to the office/factory/designers? I can’t promise anything, but it would be nice to know”.
This again is risky because they may talk about improvements you can’t deliver.
But when you get the responses, it will help you look at developing your own product awareness and keep your ear to the ground for new ideas.
You are the eyes of the company in the field and, sometimes, honest customer feedback can help you develop tweaks that would make even more businesses be interested in your products.
End-user feedback should be treated like gold-dust, and your great customers can be a mine of information here.
“Who do you know who would also benefit from these products or services?”
These great customers could be an excellent source of referrals for you because they’ve used your products, seen the results, adapted to the changes you have instigated and tasted the benefits to their business.
What a great opportunity to help others experience what they have achieved!
“Can I get a quick testimonial on video from you for our website?”
You can’t ask this from ordinary customers as you haven’t proved your worth.
But a great customer’s testimonial would be very valuable for the front page of your website. Imagine half-a-dozen quick-fire testimonials from customers who are advocates of your business!
People believe peers much more than they do salespeople, so it offers a good opportunity to share their opinions.
“How can we help you be more productive/profitable/safe/reliable in the future?”
With a great customer, you’re offering to work even closer with them to improve their sales opportunities and build their business in the future.
Because you and they have been working together for a while, you will get more specific and fruitful answers, based on what they know you can do for them, as opposed to simply asking you to reduce your prices!
These few questions can help you improve your relationship with great customers and help them help you to develop your business in the future.
I hope they prove useful for you to gain even better results with them, for yours and their businesses.
Originally published: 14 April, 2016