Customer Retention Starts with the Sale

The old adage “it’s easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one” is 100% true.  The ability to keep customers should be a primary concern for any sales person.  If you have a sales job where you get to sell more business to your current customers, customer retention is very important.  If you have a sales job when you sell a new customer they are turned over to someone else to manage, customer retention is still very important because you don’t want a bad reputation of customers leaving your company.

Customer retention starts with the sale.  The sales person has to first accurately represent to the prospect the products or services.  In essence, you as the sales person are laying a foundation of expectations for the prospect.   You don’t want to create expectations in excess of what you can deliver. Meeting a customer’s expectation may not be good enough to keep the customer.  For sure, not meeting a customer’s expectation will lead to lost business.

Another thing to keep in mind is the implementation of your product or service.  The implementation sets the stage for the ongoing relationship you will have with your customer.  Make sure the customer knows what will happen in the implementation and do something that will “Wow” your new customer.  The “Wow” factor is very important.  If you start off with something really great, you create a great first customer experience that will often stay with the customer for life.  Of course, you can’t “Wow” them at the start and then have service erode over time.

Relationships drive customer retention.  As the salesperson it is your job to create the open communication that is necessary to maintain the relationship.   Make sure that the people in your company who will be interacting with your customer are introduced during the implementation.  Everyone that will interact with your customer needs to know the person they will be working with.  For example, introduce your accounts receivables person to your customer’s accounts payables person.

Lastly, set up specific times to review with your customer how the relationship is going.  The review can be formal or informal, but you want to regularly review and rate your performance.

Keep in mind these things and keep more customers.

Create Creditability By Asking The Right Questions

As discussed in our post yesterday on how to establish creditability with a prospect you have to earn the right to continue in the sales process.  The way to establish creditability with a prospect is to demonstrate that you have their best interest in mind.  Asking the right questions is a good way to establish creditability.

A lot of sales people struggle with this because they think that the best way to establish creditability is to tell how great their company is and how great they are.  While this is a part of establishing creditability, consider that before someone is going to listen to how great you or your company is they first want to know that you care about them.  Only after you demonstrate that you care about them will your message about you and your company be really heard by your prospect. Continue reading “Create Creditability By Asking The Right Questions”

How To Establish Creditability With A Prospect

If you have been in sales for any length of time you know you need to establish creditability with a prospect early on in the sales process.  This is a common principle taught in most sales development training.  Establishing creditability earns you the right to move forward in the sales process.   If you try to move forward before you have established creditability, you are probably wasting your time because your prospect is not going to value any solution you bring to them.

To establish credibility you have to show that you have the prospect’s best interest in mind. The best way to demonstrate that you have the prospects best interest in mind is: first do some pre-sale research and then when you meet with your prospect ask questions that focus on their challenges and issues.

Pre-sale research is necessary to first of all determine if you even have a potential prospect.   When you do pre-sale research here are some of the things you want to find out:

  1. The history of the company
  2. Who are the key management people
  3. What are their main products and services
  4. Who are their customers
  5. What are the industry trends
  6. What challenges face the industry
  7. Who is their main competition
  8. Who do they currently use for the products or services you sell

There are more things you could find out, but this should get you started.

Use the pre-sale research information when you meet with your prospect to demonstrate that you care enough about them to find out information before you met with them.  You want to say something like “in preparation for our meeting I was doing some research about your industry and found out one of the challenges is……..How are you dealing with this challenge?”  Do you see how that will separate you from the 10 other sales people calling on the prospect?

Next time we will look at how to ask questions to establish creditability.