Lauren asks, “Once a deal has been done, what can we do to stay on top of mind with our customers, so that we can deepen our business relationship with them?”
Staying top of mind these days is really a challenge for everyone. We live in a world of massive information overload. I think the first thing to remember is that you’re not going to stay top of mind with your customers, all the time, every day, for months and months and months. What we have to do is have strategic points of contact with the people that are in our network, specifically our customers. I think a couple simple ways to do this is social media, using a tool like LinkedIn or Twitter, to monitor what they’re posting, and maybe engage in a light way that way, or even posting some of our own content.
I think it’s also great to just reach out, give a phone call every couple months, every other month, every quarter. Shoot a quick e-mail. I think that there is still the opportunity to provide value beyond the sale. Even something as simple as going, hey, can I connect you with so and so at company X, Y, Z, who’s working on a similar part of the business as you are, or you just might get along well. Right? Just looking for those ways to provide “value” for the people that you’ve sold to, as opposed to just ignoring them and moving on to the next sale, which is the mistake most sales people make.
The quickest way to build a relationship after we’ve got the deal done is very simple, we need to build frequency and cadence into our conversations, and we need to be unique. We don’t want to be just another sales person doing the e-mail that we all hate, and we’ve all done it. I literally did it a few hours ago with an ad sale I’m trying to do right now. I couldn’t think of anything on a Saturday morning as I record this. I couldn’t think of anything more interesting to send other than, Hi, I’m checking in. This is a relationship that we’ve had for many years now, so this person isn’t going to be offended by that e-mail. But if you are trying to stay top of mind, if you are trying to deepen your relationship with them, this check-in e-mail is bullshit. Don’t do it.
We need to have frequency with them, and we need to build essentially, routines have the frequency, and then we need to build some uniqueness into our communications. Perhaps then, you’re both into mixed martial arts, boxing, whatever it is, football, every weekend, there’s a game, there’s a match, there’s a fight. You ring them on a Friday, you text them on a Friday, you text them the betting odds if it’s boxing for example, or you ring them and ask them, oh this person’s injured, what do you think about this, that or that? The 10-minute is nothing to do with business. It’s a conversation that they would have with their friends.
Don’t get me wrong, you can’t do this weirdly and strategically, and you pick up a football team, a soccer team just to have a conversation with them. That’s not congruent, they’re going to see right through it, they’re going to see that it’s bullshit, but find some common ground on something, and every Friday, give them that call. It’s frequent, it’s got the cadence element to it of every Friday, 3:00, they’re going to be expecting that phone call from you, and that is a powerful tool in itself because new business opportunities, referrals, all that good stuff, come on the back of 10-minute conversation about how Floyd Mayweather is going to knock the shit out of Connor McGregor.
Once a sale is confirmed, then the relationship truly begins. Prior to that, it’s been sort of a dance, a courtship. Once the deal is done, then the relationship begins. That’s where it’s your role to understand their needs, and anticipate them. One of the ways to do that is think of what they’ve just bought, and ask, okay, if I were buying that, and I were a first time buyer, what would I wonder about? Would I wonder, will this apply to this situation too? Then as a salesperson, find a way to help them answer that question, or to help them explore other uses and applications of whatever it is they bought.
Let’s take something simple. Let’s say you sold someone a home, or a office building, either way, you sold them a piece of real estate. If I were the salesperson, anticipating what questions might come up for you, I would put together an owner’s manual for your new piece of property, and I would put your name on the cover of it, it doesn’t cost much to do these things. I’d have a nice looking cover, maybe a ring binder, and I’d put some information inside, and I’d thank you in a very short paragraph for being my client. I’d give you lots of different ways to contact me. Looking at contacting me through social media, through telephone, through whatever. I would have frequently asked questions that most buyers want to know the following things: How do I activate the utilities for this property? Who’s the best person to go to for small improvements and handyman work? Where is the closest post office, and so forth?
I would have those things in there. Then I would have a series of pages that were for you to fill out on your own that were related to the ways you might be using that property. Each one of those, at the bottom of course, would have my contact information so that you could come back to me. I would think like you. If I sold you a new car, i wouldn’t just give you the keys, pat you on the back and smile at you. I would explain how to use this car well, I would adjust some of the media in the car for you, maybe pairing it with your smart phone, or something like that, to get you started. Then I would say, after you’ve had this car for a week or so and you’ve had a chance to drive it and enjoy it a bit, drop back by and I’ll have a special gift for you, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions that may have come up that maybe we hadn’t talked about today. Then I’d let them know that I’m going to send them an e-mail to stimulate that, and so watch their e-mail.
I’m, by the way, I’m making this up ass I’m telling you this. It’s thinking like the customer’s needs, not thinking like the seller’s wants. That’s a big deal. That’s a very, very big deal. The customer comes back by the dealership and you go out and you greet them, and you give them, I don’t know, maybe a custom key ring, or maybe you give them a t-shirt or a hat or something. Or maybe you do something for the car, like put a little personalised nameplate on the dashboard or something. What would that cost? $15? A plastic, or a metal nice looking nameplate. Just make it more enjoyable for them to be your customer.
I think we almost have to go back to personality. I could look at you and pull your leg and say, well we need 1.6 calls, we’re going to have to send an e-mail out every 2.3 days, but you can see that we’re not really going to get a repeatable, predictable process out there. What we’re going to do is I believe, is sort of chip away. One, let’s get into that personality of the client. Sometimes we can actually, it depends on the product. I sell training. Sometimes we can actually ask the client to describe to us how they would like to move on from here, so maybe we can partner up a little bit, that way we don’t have to leave it up to chance.
One thing that I like to do that, in case I have a client, or maybe I’ve got an account with multiple clients, is just consistently drip value, or information, on the client. That’s where blogs and blarticles and things like that, I think really help. We’re not giving away to much information. Not everybody’s hanging on our every word. We continue to kind of present ourselves with value, different value.
I’m giving you one of my secret sauces, I really like to present information, present additional value at no charge. It gives me an opportunity to stay in front of that client. In my business, I can’t tell you how many times I get a request to speak from a client at a meeting, a year-end, a something. I’ve looked and they’ve actually hit reply to a blog that I’ve sent out that week. The blog poked them, they said, what about that [jollous 00:8:34] guy, and it gave them an opportunity for me to be kind of back in the front of their mind again. Now that’s the way I do it. Not everybody is going to provide information, but I think some sort of value that we can drip on the client in a very unobtrusive way, generally fits. If that doesn’t work, the best way to do it is ask the client. They’ll tell you.
We do this all the time with our customers. When somebody purchases, that’s not the same as somebody, or signs a contract, that’s not the same as they’re successfully using the product, or getting value from the service. What profits, what marketing agency, their people are writing us $10-$50K checks a month. When someone signs the dotted line on the contract, we sent hem an invoice. Now they’re like, they got a bill. If you just leave them high and dry while we get them sorted on the back end and get a call sorted out, to get everything started, it’ll be six months before when somebody signs, to where they get a lot of value from it. They’ll continue to go up.
I think where they see the value is at six months. The sales person’s job, the person who signs the deal, or gets the deal closed, is to make sure they get that relationship nurtured from the time they sign, to the time to value. I ask you back the question, the listener here, or the viewer, what is the value that you’re sale is expecting from after signing the deal? How can you help get that process started? Couple things that we do is our sales people jump and help the customer or client, integrate into the marketing team that we have. They’re doing a little bit of hand-holding, or hand off, to our account management team. Our marketing team is being super transparent with the client of what, not just here’s the results we’re going to get, here’s the time frames, but why we’re thinking, what we’re thinking about, why we’re thinking about it, why it makes sense, and the likelihood if failure, success what have you. Think about, it’s like showing your work on a math problem. You get the credit for doing all the details.
What this allows us to do is keep a relationship with that person, and get that relationship forum. It’s like, oh, this marketing tactic failed, we’re three months in, it’s not working well. They know why. They can prove it to themselves, and they don’t have to question the why behind it. I think that’s very, very important. What you can do is to stay on top of mind is, make sure you have these very good handoffs, or that the salesperson is staying in contact, not just handing them off and disappearing to the next one. They’re handing them off. They disappear when the value is achieved, not when the deal is signed.