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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What Have I Done for You Lately?

With customers and relationships the question is: what had you done for me lately?

Good customers are approached often by other providers or discover interesting offerings on the internet. Good relationships are fouled by lack of attention. Thus the spoken or implied questions about what's recent.

I heard a story about an individual who hired into the lead sales position of a software organization with a 'huge book of business.' First priority on her mind was to personally contact all the major accounts to say hello. Shocked, she was, to learn that over 60% of these accounts had not heard from her new firm since the initial sale and more than half of these accounts has switched to different software.

This situation, more or less, is entirely too common in business.

Study after study shows the vast difference in resources to acquire rather than maintain customers. But a significant portion of managers (and to be fair, the sales staff too) press for acquisition over retention.

Why don't we ask the question: What have I done for You lately? and devote more time to our real customers.

Make contact – give something of value – demonstrate that a relationship does exist – show that you care!

This can be as simple as forwarding an article, document, or link to a blog which speaks to a known area of interest. It can be dynamic – checking in after x months to see how your product or service is meeting their needs – or even soliciting what features would make it meet their needs more broadly or deeply. Or it can be information about how other customers are using minor or undocumented features and other user-derived 'enhancements' for significant benefit.

Whatever you choose, make the contact with your customer worthwhile from their viewpoint. Keep in mind they are busy and not as focused on your products and services as you are. Always give value in every interaction with a customer.

Conversation and caring works for relationships as well.

It can change the conversation to that's what you've done for me lately! Music to our ears!

Your thoughts?

This is the topic for the next Rainmaker – a 300 second presentation before the featured speaker at the CTMH meeting. Join us February 22nd  for Sales Lab’s Rainmaker 12 - What Have I Done for You Lately? at the Capital Technology Management Hub on Wednesday, February 22nd. The featured CTMH speaker will beSean Crowley on the topic of The Open Source Web ContentManagement Platform, Drupal, and its MomentumGet details here.

1 comment:

Gabe said...

Yup. As a writer, my product is articles; even if meant for print, they're usually posted online by my clients. So I publicize links, syndicate the articles when permitted, and let clients know I'm doing that so they know where the dozens/hundreds/thousands/millions of clicks originate.

As a consumer, I let businesses know when they've fallen short. A large majority are happy to hear from me and remedy the situation -- with their apologies ranging from $15 coupons to $300 meals.

Here's an article about complaining: "Creative Griping Makes Friends and Brings Rewards"