Keeping the wolves at bay…
I have had a client for a long, long time. They are a signature client and many other clients come on board with me because of THEM! They are important to my past, present, and future success.
Recently, they decided that they wanted to start looking around at other options. New, sexy, exciting, (unproven) options! They have included me in the process and are giving me the chance to stay in the game with them.
Tomorrow, I present to their team – and here’s why I’m 90% positive I am going to keep the relationship…because every chance I get, I talk to them about all the great things we’ve been able to do together over the years. We have a PARTNERSHIP. When THEY wanted to make a big, unprecedented splash in their industry, I was there. IT was awesome. When they wanted to expand their reach, I was there, we have results to show for it. When they wanted to support new markets, I was there and it made a huge difference.
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But, if I weren’t communicating these wins with them (like a walk down memory lane), then it’s easy for them to forget when something new and sparkly shows up on the scene. It’s why I am going to keep this business (they even let ME select the position I wanted in the order of presentations. I picked LAST, of course).
The principles I’m talking about are easy to apply in any industry. They go like this:
When you get a new client
Send at least a handwritten thank you note, if not a gift. AND thank the person who sent them to you. This works with selling cars, furniture, appliances, real estate, mortgages, farming equipment, office supplies … ANYTHING.
When you have had a client for awhile
Check in to see how they are using your products. Has anything changed in their life? What is coming up that you should know about? If you are a car dealer, you will find out that a daughter is about to turn 16 and a new car is in order (probably for mom and dad, but a new car, nonetheless). If you are in furniture, you will find that a baby is on the way, or that an aging couple is moving to a smaller place and needs help with the new setting.
When you have had a client for a few “seasons”
Send tokens of appreciation and schedule a coffee, simply to “walk down memory lane”. If you are in real estate, you can reminisce about how far that couple has come from their “first home buyer” experience to upgrading to a home for babies and for helping the first child get their first home. If you are in appliances, you can chortle about the surprise new range that he bought for his wife on their fifth anniversary.
The point is…if you want to have a successful book of business that builds on itself, you will keep it personal and you will remind your clients of the partnership you have developed over the years. This may seem like a lot of work, but BELIEVE ME…the repeat business and referrals you will receive FAR OUTWEIGH the cost and effort it takes to keep getting NEW clients.
Love the partnership UP!
The Irreverent Sales Girl