Written by Sean McPheat |
How To Cultivate And Manage Your Accounts
Ok, you’ve located the prospect, qualified the lead, made the contact, secured the appointment, made the presentation, presented the proposal and finally closed the sale.
You now have a customer; that is someone who has done some business with you.
But now what do you do?
How do you turn that customer into a loyal CLIENT?
Understand this: creating long-term client relationships is not as easy as it once may have been.
Today’s consumers are sophisticated, educated, savvy buyers who have a whole world of information at their fingertips.
Add the fact that your competition has become fiercer and are constantly trying to “buy” your customers and the result is buyers who are far less loyal then in the past and stand ready to “trade up” the moment you miss a beat.
You must know how to build “relationships” and become an integral partner in such that you transcend the lure of a discount.
In reviewing your account base for more business remember three words: Care, Cultivate and Consult!
Care – for the Customer
The dictionary definition for “to care” means to be concerned.
The first thing you must do is demonstrate that you are concerned; you care for your customer and their business.
Note the word I used was “demonstrate” and not “talk about.”
You can tell the customer how much you care but you have do actually show that in what you do. How often do you call to ensure their needs are met?
Not to see if you can get another order; but to see if you can be of SERVICE?
As you work with your base, you want to contact your customers and show that your concern for their well being and success goes beyond the commission you already spent.
Send an email asking new questions, continuing to sell your services and the fact that you are always available.
“Hi Miss Customer; of course you know we sell software solutions, but I noted the last time I was there that you were having some problems with your file and print servers. I was just wondering if I may be of some help.”
Let your customer know that you are there to assist even in areas were you do not get paid to do so. Keep notes in your CRM database, keep your eyes open for industry news that may apply to the customer and ask questions.
Listen, you did things like this when you were trying to impress the prospect to get the first sale—now keep it up!
Cultivate – the Relationship
Most sales people believe that the way you cultivate and build a relationship is to go out of your way to become drinking buddies or golfing partners with your customers and while such may sometimes be the end result, it is not the path.
The correct path to a deep relationship is to continually provide valuable services, solve problems and become a close “partner” to your customer.
By doing this, the personal relationship will automatically develop—but it will be sincere! Look, people are not going to remain loyal to you just because you sent a bottle of scotch or ‘butter them up’ with false flattery every time you see them. Be sincere and help them.
“Mr. New Customer, I came across this article on international mortgage rates and I know you are looking for a new location, so I thought you could use this information…”
A good way to cultivate is to ask the customer to explain and boast about their achievements. As they do this, it gets you deeper in to the company and closer to the client.
“Miss New Customer, since you took over IT at XYZ, you increased efficiency 85% and I am glad I was able to help with our software solutions. But I would really be interested to know how you overcame so many other challenges like high turn over at the help desk. Could I buy you lunch and…”
Consult – Always
Continue to be a consultant, which means to give advice; to be a counselor, industry authority and mentor.
“Mr. Customer, there is a conference next week on international shipping; it might be a good idea if your shipping manager could be there.”
“Mrs. Customer, I know you have a booth at the upcoming convention and I would like to give your sales team a few extra tips on using our CRM that will help them maximize the amount and quality of the leads they capture…”
For solid account management: Show you care. Cultivate and broaden the relationship and continue to be a consultant.
Until the next time, take care of yourself and happy selling!
PS If you want to improve the performance of your sales people please click on the link below and send me an enquiry:
Contact Us or please give me a call on 0800 849 6732
Originally published: 8 July, 2008
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