There are some people who do not care much for the idea of Valentine’s Day. They just do not believe in it. They believe that there should not be a special day designated for treatment that should be the norm every day of the year. This same sentiment can be applied to your customers. Why do companies have a “Customer Appreciation Week”? Shouldn’t we be taking care of our customers all year long?
Taking existing customers for granted can be easy to do. You’ve enjoyed a long-standing customer in your territory for years. Things at this account are “fine.” Things are always fine. The status quo is working, so why mess with a good thing? Why? Because as customers are gaining access to more information via the internet, social media, etc. and becoming further educated they are opening themselves up to other options. This puts you in constant jeopardy of losing this client to the competition. This article will discuss
ways in which you can stay ahead of the competition and continually provide value to your clients with the longest tenure.
Why is it that the existing customer never gets the free sweatshirt or duffle bag? Why is the nifty gift just for new subscribers as part of a promotion? Part of this has to do with the fact that companies tend to place the highest premium on new sales. Although new sales are vitally important, they should not be a focus at the expense of existing clients that are and have been purchasing for some time.
One way to focus on your long-standing customers is to stay innovative. Analyze your relationship and product mix with the organization to determine in what direction you can expand your reach there. Is there a way to work within your organization to get the best deal for one of your best customers? Is there something that you can do to show your appreciation just like giving away the free sweatshirt? Look at offers and special pricing to add to their agreement. For instance, a customer could add an additional product to its contract and in return agree to an additional year under the current subscription. Customers welcome this and find value in the ability to have the latest release and the predictability in their budget for another year.
Another type of innovation can be with the relationship itself. Think about different ideas that might make your contact look good in front of the company and its managers. Get creative with your service to the customer, such as sponsoring an educational seminar or getting involved in the customer’s favorite charity. Constantly look for ways to show your gratitude for their business and at the same time help them understand the value of you and your company.
Be Aware of Competition
Does your valentine have other suitors? They might. You need to stay aware of the competition. In the same light, you need to understand the relationship competitors have with your client, as well as the value—or the perceived value—to the organization. In what ways are they a threat? Once you have these answers, make sure that you fully comprehend and are comfortable articulating the value proposition of your company and products. Be prepared to have conversations about the competition and what makes your product a superior value. Be honest and forthcoming. By doing so, you will gain credibility with your audience and a greater connection with them so that they focus on your message. For example, their turnaround time for delivery may be 2 days while yours is 3. Speak to that difference and explain how your product’s other attributes outweigh the extra day the competition offers.
Know Their Industry
Another way to focus on your long-standing customer is to stay abreast of the industry. Take the time to understand the climate of your customer’s particular industry and how it affects your relationship. Do research and read up. Specifically, examine the way in which industry changes affect your contact
and how he or she conducts business. Use this opportunity to tap into other departments within the organization. Those industry changes might reveal other fertile ground in the company that is wellsuited for the solutions you provide.
Never stop trying to grasp the demands of your customer and recognize their changing needs and objectives.
No sales rep wants a break-up, especially right after cupid has visited. Demonstrate your appreciation for your customer every day with innovation, competitive awareness, and a sense of changes within their industry to keep the relationship healthy and thriving.