Simple: STOP SELLING TO THEM ALL THE TIME!
We all know, some sales people can only think about the next deal. Pretty much every call they make is a sales call. So how does that make their clients feel?
No prizes for guessing – they feel like they’re being used to meet targets and fill commission pots. This is not good. In fact, it’s really bad.
So here’s the skinny: treat your clients like your friends not like your piggy-bank!
Sounds good, I hear you cry, but how do we do that?
Not so hard really; let’s think how we treat our friends…..
- Get to know their preferences and interests and act upon them.
- Discover their aspirations, goals and challenges and help where we can.
- Know what’s going on in their lives right now!
- Keep in regular contact (but don’t ask for anything).
- Meet up just to “shoot the breeze”
- Send something hand-written through the post.
- Give more than we take.
And that’s exactly what you should do to turn clients into friends!
Now, I get two pushbacks on this: I don’t have the time and I wouldn’t know what to talk about.
Well to start with I think you don’t have enough spare time NOT to do this. Clients who are bordering on friends buy more, stay longer, give you more referrals and are more likely to send the competition packing when they call.
It’s actually harder work not to adopt this approach; busy, busy, busy.
As for knowing what to talk about; well just like a new friendship, slowly does it. Let the relationship develop gradually and as you learn more about them and they learn more about you so you’ll have more non-work things to talk about.
Also, create opportunities to “get off the operational highway and onto the relationship rest area” as we say in Flair. Make time to get personal.
I know it’s hard. I know picking up the phone and making another sales call is easier (sending an email is even easier – yuk!) but in the longer term, it doesn’t help.
I also know some companies have sales KPIs around the number of calls you make (what decade are they living in – sooooo 2012). But do what you can and see how your world will change for the better.
Treat your clients like your friends and make more money, in less time, for less effort and for a longer period of time.