• Duane Cashin

Don't Neglect Your Current Customers

Updated: Feb 17, 2020

How focused are you and your team on closing new deals? When I ask this question of potential clients their responses are virtually the same across all industries: “VERY!” 

Would you answer the same?

What if I asked, “Are you solely focused on closing new deals, or do you make a real effort to maintain strong, ongoing relationships with current customers?” 

What would you say?

As sales professionals, we often over-focus on the close. We secure the first agreement to do business, celebrate the win, but then lose track of the relationship over time. This approach usually results in lost opportunity.

Honest, continuous, two-way communication between your salespeople and their current clients is essential to retaining business, getting referrals, and securing new opportunities with those customers as their needs change over time. In fact, it’s the only thing that will prevent them from taking up business with your competitors. 

Has your team made the effort to build a strong foundation with your current customers?

We told you not to make sales resolutions this year but to focus on meaningful changes that will propel your company forward. Here’s the first example of where to focus your energies this year.

To improve the quality of our communication with the people who are currently buying from you and expand and deepen those relationships over time, consider taking the 3 following steps:

1. Beware of silence.

Whoever said “no news is good news” never worked in sales. A client you haven’t heard from in a while is wondering why you’ve gone dark and is potentially shopping for a new service provider.

We recommend quarterly business review meetings. Sit down with your customers, their key stakeholders, and formally review how things have been going, what new challenges they expect to face, what their changing priorities are, and then address how you can meet their needs. This shows your commitment to partnering with them in the long-term.

2. Stop improvising.

Too many companies “wing it” when it comes to communicating with current customers. A sales manager will ask if a certain customer has been called in a while, someone will say yes, and that’s “good enough”. This is a very wrong approach.

You need to create a clear written plan regarding current customer outreach, a plan that addresses how often you’ll personally reach out, how often customers will receive digital “drip” campaigns, what content will be relative to them, and so forth. 

In other words, communication needs to become a real strategy, not a one-off phone call or email.

Part of this will be deciding who else in your organization should be part of the outreach team for each client. Depending on the size and complexity of the account, it’s possible that senior members of your organization should be developing parallel relationships in the client organization. The goal is to always reach the decision-maker, and sometimes a salesperson just can’t do it alone.

3. Be a valuable resource, not just a service provider.

When you come across an idea, process, or market opportunity that you can share without violating any confidentiality agreements you have in place, share it with clients you think could benefit from the knowledge. By doing so, you will make it clear that your first priority is providing value to their world and that your intention is to be with them for the long haul.

Continuously look for opportunities to sell value.

These three simple strategies are designed to improve your communication and the quality of your relationships with your customers, which will mean more business over time and more long-term value for everyone.  ​ Are you ready to improve your existing relationships? Give us a call for a more personalized approach.

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