If there is any fault with the run-of-the-mill sale, it is that it is viewed too shallowly: the contact, the pitch, the close, and we are done. Once the sale is closed and the customer has paid, the salesperson and company move onto the next prospect.
As detailed in another of this month’s blogs, this is where things can go wrong. If there is an issue or problem with the product or service, the prospect is going to contact the last person they had a relationship with: the salesperson. The salesperson, not having enough time to really deal with it, is going to become weighed down and not be able to fully pursue other prospects.
In short, that is what happens with the “quick sale.” That quick sale, though, instead of saving the salesperson and the company time, can cost more time through mishandling of customer issues, and lose the salesperson and the company considerable revenue because of unhappy or only mildly satisfied customers.
The missing step is the customer relationship, which is technically established following the close. It is where the crucial delivery of the sold product or service takes place. It’s also where the buying cycle begins all over again—after all, the better the fit of the product or service to the customer, the more your new client will make the decision to retain your services and become a lifelong customer.
Let’s say that again: “lifelong customer.”
How much more revenue will you and your company obtain from a lifelong customer, as opposed to that “quick sale”? If you want to build an ever-affluent company, you must establish relationships with all your clients that extend beyond the close.
From the Beginning
While the customer relationship step occurs following the close, the approach begins at the beginning of the sales process. Right up front, you want to approach your prospect as if you are going to have a lifelong relationship with them. In fact, one of the top 10 reasons salespeople can’t close deals is, “they didn’t care enough about the customer and view them as a customer for life; someone who is going to use their product or service and refer customers to them for life.”
Yes, when you first meet that prospect, your approach should be that they will be a client for life. You do not have a lifelong relationship with a mere acquaintance—which is as far as you get with the “quick sale”—you have a lifelong relationship with a friend. Throughout the sales process, you are developing that friendship. By the time you get to ask about the prospect’s future vision, goals, and dreams, you have a nice solid relationship that is now being strengthened.
Just as with any other long-term relationship, it is one you must care for. The key points are being interested and fully understanding what the prospect says. If you do not understand something, ask more questions. Care enough to truly understand your prospect’s (friend’s) viewpoint.
When you do this right, that relationship is unbreakable. That means your competition cannot break it, nor can anything else.
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