We all get excited about making sales and getting deals over the line. But what about after the yes? What about making sure they remain a customer and you keep doing business with them?
Do the numbers:
Play the odds. The benefits of having an account management framework in place are huge. It should be a crucial part of your sales strategy. Yet it’s often an afterthought or largely neglected unless a customer starts yelling or threatens to leave. Good luck retaining a customer who’s got to this point!
Building lasting relationships with customers helps sustain your business and makes it hard for your competitors. Companies that do this well get themselves into a trusted advisor position. Not only is this good for sales, it’s an enjoyable way to conduct business, often leading to enduring friendships.
Developing an account management framework is not hard to do. Essentially it’s putting a bit of structure around how you organise and track key interactions with your customers. Typical activities include arranging for your exec team to meet periodically with your key customers’ exec to discuss performance, product or service development and industry trends, ensuring there is regular contact with the customer and the sales team reviewing the status of each customer on a monthly basis.
Another dimension of account management is to surprise and delight the customer –send them an article on something they’re interested in (work or non-work related), invite them to a seminar or send them a thank you note or a good book. The only real cost of taking this approach is a bit of effort. The benefits will far outweigh the cost.
Play the odds. Look after you customers.
Watch our video below and learn more about how to look after your customers "after the yes".
Hi, Nick here again from Sell More Tech. I want to talk about the power of storytelling.
Stories are real and people get them
There's lots of research now that supports that people remember things and get inspired by stories that they can make a link to. I'm sure you can think of some stories that you've heard that do that for you.
I just think back to my first hi tech sale, to a C suite person, who just didn't believe in the product. So I said to her, "Just watch, let us prove it." And I've used this story many times over. She simply did not believe. So she watched the product at work so to speak and came back and said, "Hey, I get it now, you've proven it to us." And I've used the power of that real story with equivalent roles, selling again. Absolutely works a trick because they can totally relate to it themselves.
Potential customers love the power of the story where you're telling them that the solution that you have makes a really big difference. And as it’s directly relevant to them, it really reinforces that.
Take the story to the next level - let the customer tell it to your prospect
And it’s even more effective if you then say to them that they can have a chat to that customer. Now that's an incredibly powerful way to sell. It's a story that gets people interested, it gets them engaged and they're now prepared to go and do a bit of hard work to make it happen. Talk to that person and the opportunity for you to engage meaningfully and make a sale go quickly and well.
I would encourage you in your travels to keep a note of really good stories that potential customers can relate to, because it will help you with your sales. And on that note, we've written a “five insights” document covering this and other sales tips. So go onto sellmoretech.biz and sign up and enjoy.
It was great to be the keynote speaker this week at Christchurch NZ's Hi-Growth Launch Program Graduation. Having been through a previous version of that some years ago, and with an exit under my belt, I was asked to just provide some thoughts. And my theme was, thinking about it, was what these programs do, all the good work that these various bodies do to help companies grow, is it's to help companies “run the right lines.”
When you watch really good sports teams, artists, business people for that matter, they always make it look easy. They always look like they've got time. And of course, they run the right lines. And I go to a lot of sporting events and analyze the really good sports people, and they always run the right lines. And that's what I think these sort of programs do for businesses. And particularly in New Zealand, companies need to ask because there's all this great help out there for them.
I talked about my journey with the program, and there were three key takeaways for me. The first is “you don't know what you don't know”, and again, you need to ask for help. If you let the ego get in the way, you can end up making some really big mistakes, so it's actually a strength to ask for help.
Secondly, it all comes down to value. We read all the time about our value proposition, but it's exactly right. You’ve got to know what the value to your customer is and who is the customer. Often, a lot of high tech founders tend to focus on what they do in the core technology they’ve got, rather than the value it creates and for whom their value is.
Thirdly, the biggest and most important thing is about collaboration, working with people. I put a slide up that said collaboration equals multiplication. Just working with other people you can end up creating so much greater than you could ever do by yourself. And it just reinforces the power of learning.
It was a great honor to talk at this event, with 10 great companies including the company I'm mentoring, Well Health. Its going to be great to see them all continue to run the right lines in the future.