Customer Success Lies Within The Relationship
Turn that client into something more.
In today’s transactional business mentality, this simple concept is one that often gets strange looks when I suggest it. I get the typical excuses of “no time” and “looming quotas” as the general reason most salespeople don’t take the time to turn a client into something more. Often when I take that concept one step further and suggest turning that client into an actual friend I get sarcastic laughs and comments like “sure, I’ll get right on that.”
And you should is always my response.
You see client friendships are one of the very best ways to grow your business. Why? Because there’s loyalty there. Loyalty that can and will prevent your competition from being able to take the business away from you.
Clients buy from people they know like and trust right? So it only stands to reason that since you’ve secured the business by getting their commitment to do business with you you’ve laid a pretty good foundation for building a real relationship with your client. But foundation alone won’t get you there. You have to be willing to step outside of your transactional role as the sales rep and find some avenues to connect with your client on a more personal level. It’s only then can you really truly start to build a real relationship with your client.
One easy strategy to kick off the relationship and start creating a friendship with your client is to ask them out to lunch. Use the premise of thanking them for the trust they’ve placed in you and the business they’ve given to you. Once there, talk very little about the business (or yourself) and focus solely on learning more about the person who’s sitting in front of you. At that point it’s all about them, not you.
What led them to work at their company?
Where are they from originally?
What do they like to do in their free time?
Do they have any kids?
Leverage what you learn to ask more questions and get them to open up to you a bit. It’s through these tidbits you learn about them, like their love for The Dallas Cowboys, that open up a plethora of conversation opportunities and connection points. Be conversational and friendly and let your guard down and you’ll make it easy for them to do the same.
Like anything worth doing you want to do it right. Come prepared with some questions that help get the conversation off and running. Something far more pertinent than so how’s that “xyz product” you bought from us working out? Allow yourself to be you, no sales agenda, no real objective but to connect with another human being and see what happens.
But here’s the kicker, you need to be willing to invest in continuing to build and grow that new relationship. Don’t be naive enough to think with one lunch a relationship makes. You need to find other reasons to engage and communicate in the coming weeks and months. Open up other doors of conversation and engagement so that you give the relationship room to grow. Sort of like a fine wine needs to breathe after opening it, so too does this new relationship. It’s only then when you continue to put forth the effort that you demonstrate by both your actions and your sincerity that you are committed to something more than just a vendor client relationship.
Do it right and you’ll not only set yourself apart from other salespeople, you’ll be cementing subconsciously why they chose to do business with you in the first place. Plus, you’ll gain a potential friend in the process. And that high probability of repeat and more profitable business in the future just becomes the gravy.