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Customer Relationships

Nothing lasts forever, right? While it may seem pessimistic, having a plan for dealing with a client’s departure is sound advice when it comes to maintaining business and clients. We spend so much time building solid, trusting relationships with clients that it can come as quite a blow when news hits that your client contact announces they’re leaving their current position.

Like it or not, times have changed and the usefulness of a voicemail is up for debate. With email, text messages and Caller ID, some people find it irritating to see that they have a blinking red light or a notification alerting them to check their voicemail. And as sales professionals, the last thing we’re trying to do is annoy a prospect or current client.

A mistake too many salespeople make is not keeping in touch with former clients. It's not uncommon for past clients to come to a point where they need your product or service again but don't remember how to get in touch with you. They are more likely to have your competitors' information handy. (Your competitors are still calling on your client even though you are not).

The good and bad of relationship-based sales.

The Good
Relationship-based sales methods are ideal. Most of the time those relationships are the only thing protecting you from competing solely on price. In sales training, we have a saying: "All things being equal, people buy from people they like. All things being unequal, people still buy from people they like."

Attending a networking event? WHY??

That may seem like a strange question, but time is one of our most limited resources! Taking a few minutes to evaluate why you should attend THIS particular networking event may save you hours of unproductive time and energy.Often, sales professionals tell me that they make their decision to attend an event based on the location of the event and their calendar availability. Instead, base your decision to attend an event based on:
Will your ideal target market likely be there? If not,

Peter Ostrow talks about the importance of integrating sales training and customer relationship management. Companies who integrate see more reps meet their quotas, and experience an overall increase in revenue.

A prospect has agreed to meet with you and indicated they are genuinely interested in your product or service. You arrive at the meeting and spend 40 minutes with the prospect sharing how your product can solve their problems, which they've just shared with you. They are very impressed with you and all the features and benefits that you've shared...

They're happy with the delivery timelines, the after sales service that will be provided and once you send the proposal with the price they're sure they can get the rest of the committee to agree to move forward.

I had an interesting conversation at a social event that made me recognize that I, along with people in general, seem to want to make decisions for other people. This is an interesting observation from a sales perspective and it's also applicable in our everyday lives.

Let me share the story:

Why do we think that by asking a question we'll hurt the prospect's feelings? What you need to remember is that that you are not responsible for how a prospect reacts to a question that you ask.

Clients share with me daily the questions they've avoided asking for fear of upsetting the prospect. Sometimes they get frustrated with themselves because they feel they lost a sale or an opportunity of a sale because they lacked the guts to ask questions. They would rather bite their tongue than ask a question that they think might make the prospect uncomfortable.

Spend some time in the psychology or self-help section in any bookstore and you'll find hundreds of books written on transforming troubled relationships. Whether husband/wife, parent/child, friend/friend or employer/employee, they dominate the shelves promising THE magical solution to resolving any issue imaginable.

If you're in sales, what about the buyer/seller relationship? The same elements that make any relationship thrive also apply to developing and strengthening bonds with our prospects and customers.