We all know how the sales funnel works. While your company’s funnel might have some minor differences, the premise is pretty much the same across industries.
First, a lead becomes a prospect. Salespeople then reach out, provide the right information for the prospect, and offer a solution to their pain point. Finally, the prospect becomes a customer.
And that’s it.
Once you have the signed contract, it’s pretty much over. The hard work is done, and now all you have to do is orchestrate a hand over to an account executive and occasionally reach out to the new customer to say “hi.”
The thing about sales is you’re never really done selling. Although you might have a contract for the year, what about the next year? Or the year after?
You need to keep new relationships strong if you want to reap the full benefits. Which means you need to focus on the part of the sales process no one is talking about: Maintaining the relationship. If you can delight the customer, you can sell them again and again through cross-selling, upselling, and renewals.
Here are a few simple tricks to maintain strong relationships with your new customers.
1) Do a New Customer Walkthrough
Immediately after you make a sale, the excitement for both you and the customer is palpable.
What happens next can be tedious, however.
The onboarding process takes time and effort, and, as a salesperson and the primary point of contact for this new customer, it’s your job to ensure that they get fully acclimated as quickly as possible.
The first thing to do is schedule a 60-minute tutorial with an implementation team member. Walk the client through what the product looks like, how they’re supposed to operate it, and the simple tricks and hacks to make it as effective as possible. This is different than the demonstration you’ve already given them; this is your chance to apply every part of the tool to their business, specifically.
Once the walkthrough is over, send an email reminding them that whenever they need help, you’re there. Here’s an example of this type of message:
Encourage this new customer to reach out to the support team if they aren’t sure about something, and remind them of all the tricks they just learned.
2) Check In
This is the easiest part. Once every two weeks, send an email or make a call simply to say hello. The idea is to remind the customer that you’re there, and you’re dedicated to helping them. Regular check-ins will make your relationship stronger and stronger over time.
If you’re really ambitious, checking in once a week is fantastic, but two to three weeks is more realistic for most salespeople. Use your CRM to record check-ins so you’ll be able to track the last time you reached out. If your CRM allows for it, set reminders in the system when it’s time to follow up again.
3) Prompt Feedback
Customers want to be heard. That’s why getting feedback from them and acting on it is important.
Ideally, once every quarter, have a “how can we get better” talk with the customer. Listen for suggestions about the product, your performance, and everything in between. This will not only help you serve this customer better, but will also help you optimize your sales process with new prospects.
Customers need to know this isn’t a one-way relationship. The feedback call is an easy way to maintain a positive relationship.
4) Give (Genuine) Compliments
Whether it’s weight loss or likes on Instagram photos, everyone loves hearing how great they’re doing and receiving positive feedback. As a salesperson, playing into this desire is an easy way to maintain and build a relationship.
When you check in, include a compliment on the progress they’ve made with your product or service. By letting someone know they’re doing a great job, they’re inspired to dive deeper into the product and really get to know it. If their hard work is starting to pay off in results, make your pride in their progress known.
However, a compliment you don’t mean is worse than none at all. With this in mind, only give genuine praise. Customers can sense when you’re fudging it.
5) Offer a Sneak Peek
The final way to build a great relationship with a new customer is to offer them something before you give it to anyone else. For instance, maybe your company has just come out with a new add-on for your product, and you’re looking to test it with your client base. Offering it to the right customers can really make a difference.
When you give certain clients a “sneak peek,” they feel like an insider at your company. They’re the first ones to get a new upgrade — for free — and they get to benefit from it before anyone else has the chance.
And who gave them this free, new tool? You did. Your relationship just got that much stronger.
Once a prospect completes their journey through the sales funnel, some sales reps forget about the prospect and move on to the next person in their pipeline. However, it’s important to dedicate yourself to delighting this new customer for as long as they’re with you. After all, when you’re in sales, the selling never really stops.