First, understand that I’m a firm believer in building relationships with my clients. Note, I said clients and not customers. We build relationships with our clients, leading to greater loyalty.
Whereas customers tend to be more transactional interactions, which are less focused on the relationship and more on an exchange of currency for goods.
My goal is to establish trust with my clients and any prospects I hope to turn into a client. Therefore, I look for ways to make their lives better, in hopes that they’ll think of me first when they need my services or even my advice. My goal isn’t to provide value, but to provide the most value possible, leaving them wanting more. If you really care about them, then this is not hard. My favorite approach is to always be thinking about how you’re going to serve them next. Also, you can’t build a mutually beneficial relationship with them if they do not become a client. This doesn’t mean you can’t have loyal prospects, but generally that leads to a one-sided relationship where you’re doing all of the giving and not receiving any benefit.
Therefore, it’s important that our efforts lead to a sale. We do this by remembering to always leverage a “next step” strategy. Every call, email, webinar, or other sales effort must be focused on the next move.
If you pre-plan your interactions, you can develop a strategy that keeps the process flowing. For example, if you meet a new prospect at an event, how can you schedule the next meeting? If you just provided a capabilities presentation, perhaps you can set them up with a demonstration tool, letting them know that you’ll follow up to find out their experience. What’s the next step? Perhaps it’s introducing them to your support manager. No matter the interaction, keep focusing on the next step. This requires planning and engaging them, but there’s no faster path to a sale than this. What if your sales process is online? It’s no different. All communication must lead them to another stage. If you make the communication valuable, they will come back wanting more.
There’s a time and place for marketing material, but it doesn’t always fit into a next step strategy, unless there’s a follow up strategy in place. For example, you might have a one page overview of your product offering that you know they’ll be interested in. Immediately schedule the follow up conversation. Case studies, white papers, articles, competitive intelligence and countless other value-based items can be powerful tools to execute that next step in the sales cycle. No matter your strategy and the tools you have, focused on getting them to buy while providing value. Once they purchase from you, the opportunity to get them to be a repeat buyer goes up exponentially, especially with a value-based approach, such as a next-step strategy.
Stop finding customers and focus on creating clients. If you do, you’ll never struggle for sales again.
About Paul Kirch
Paul Kirch is known as an accomplished sales and sales management professional, though his background is so much broader. He is currently the President/CEO of Actus Sales Intelligence, a sales intelligence agency, known for helping its clients “sell smarter.” You can follow Paul on twitter.com/paulkirch