The 4 Keys to Creating Lifetime Clients
We are in the midst of a sales revolution. Customers’ needs and wants are changing rapidly.
So what are they saying they really want from you?
I’ve discovered from hundreds of 1-2-1 interviews with customers that there are several key behaviours and personality characteristics that senior decision makers are looking for in their account manager, regardless of product or sector.
I’ll be glad to know what they don’t want is slick PowerPoint presentations, manipulative language techniques or sales spiel!
It’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing the majority of your time on winning new business to the detriment of good account management.
Remember our primary goal should be to develop a happy customer base. Ones that
- Are not just willing to buy more products but
- Willing to refer you to other parts of the business & industry too.
- Ones that are early adopters of your new technology and products.
- Evangelisers of your solution & frequently tell peers and friends.
How are these types to customer created?
- Excellent service from their Account Managers.
- Exceptional Product & Customer Experience.
- They are involved in your R&D development.
- You are happy for them to be interviewed by the media to share your story.
What do your customers really want from you?
They want you to be professional.
a) Today’s sales revolution means over 90% of customers will check you out online and expect social proof before approaching you. Is your website visually appealing and easy to consume?
b) The initial contact, is your response prompt, friendly, helpful and does it move them forward to the next step effectively?
c) Vital is the face to face meeting. Do you show good preparation? Ask quality questions and actively listen? How is your follow up? Prompt & reliable?
d) Finally and most important do you provide good consistent account management to enable real loyalty.
They want you to listen, understand them and then take action.
a) Forget emailed customer surveys. Create real communication channels that allow for continuous two-way dialogue. Use personal telephone surveys touching on the areas of concern, areas where you are doing well and specific points for improvement are much more valuable.
b) Understand how they like to be communicated with, email or telephone, when and with what frequency?
c) Provide clear service level agreements on lead-times, deliveries or quotations.
d) Create an on-line customer community so they can add their comments and see their feedback being acted upon. This creates engagement and significantly increases their motivation to contribute and give feedback regularly. They can see their opinion is important and used to continually improve your service and the products created.
They need you to be Consistent.
Living in an age of social media with customer review sites ever more popular has meant companies and individuals can no longer provide poor service without it being made very public.
Therefore creating a great customer experience that is consistent and reliable has never been more powerful or valuable.
So what is consistency from your customer’s viewpoint?
- The regularity of your communication.
- A great user experience all the way from the receptionist to sales, engineers and delivery / installation teams.
4. Expert Advice.
They want an Account Manager to add value when they interact with them:
Your customers want you to take the time to know them well. This is not simply about trying to sell them more products. But rather getting a deeper more meaningful connection to them that is based on understanding their problems and how you solve them.
- Engendering loyalty and unsolicited proactive promoting of your products and service to colleagues & peers.
- It goes beyond a customer & supplier interaction and becomes an opportunity to co-innovate.
- They bring you into strategic planning, value your opinion & insights. So you are viewed as an extended member of their internal team.’
In small and bigger ways their sales person looks to find ways to add value throughout the entire sales process.
- “I found this white paper on the issue we were discussing and I thought it might be of interest.”
- “We have an industry expert in town next week and I was wondering if you’d like to meet them for coffee and chat about your product? They’d certainly like to hear your opinion too on our new range.”
- “I’d love to share some insights on the best applications of this solution using relevant case studies to highlight how difficult challenges were overcome with successful results.”
So what can you do?
These four behaviours and personality characteristics are the ones senior decision makers are looking for in their account manager, regardless of product or sector.
So ask yourself: Which areas do you excel and which are those where you have room to improve? Now pick one or two areas from the list to of behaviours to start actively focusing on to raise your game.
Now you have the four ingredients for creating Customers for Life, delivering them what they want but more importantly what they really need.