Let's talk about customer relationships: What do you know about your customers? And how do you stay in touch?
Maintain Your Customer Database
I keep track of new prospects and existing customers in a database. That allows me to be proactive in defining my customer relationships. I know their birthdays, anniversaries, mobile phone numbers, I know when they booked me, if they own my latest book, when I contacted them last, and when I need to contact them again. It puts me in the driver's seat and keeps me in touch with my customers, and that leads to more business.
I recommend that after each call or visit you update your database with any new information you have gathered from your customer. And don't think that customer communication and customer relationship management is simply a job for your marketing or customer service department. If it's your client, you need to communicate.
Let's look at a few examples:
Do you write Christmas cards or Season's Greetings to your customers? If you do, make sure to send handwritten cards. You know why? How many cards do you think your customer receives in the holiday season? In my company, we receive 600 or more. I tell my assistants to only give me the ones which are handwritten. They decorate the office with the rest. Yes, it does take time to write each card by hand, but it's well worth it.
I never say, “Thank you for your business.” I say, “Thank you for your trust.” There's a big difference. Trust puts more emphasis on the relationship. I have with my client, business makes it less personal and puts more focus on the money.
I call every single customer for their birthday, even on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, when I'm on vacation, or giving a speech in another country. And you know what? They all appreciate it. They're happy to hear from me and some are blown away that I remembered their birthday.
But I never use a birthday call to sell my services. Never. This may seem trivial, but do you really call every customer for their birthday? You should.
Let's say you are my customer and you booked me for today. I would call you in a year from today, two years, three years, and so on.
I say, “Hi Mr. Client or Ms. Client, congratulations on your anniversary.”
You ask, “What anniversary?”
I answer, “A year ago today, you trusted me to work with your sales team, and for that I would like to say thank you today.”
People appreciate that because nobody else does that. Everybody talks about customer care, customer service – I can't hear it anymore. Just do it! It's very easy.
You can also connect with your customers with a little gift. One of the gifts I give is a cute little teddy bear with my logo. When I find out that one of my customers became a mom or dad, we send them this cute little teddy, but we don't address it to the parents, we send it to the kid.
“Dear Chris, welcome to our beautiful world. We wish you lots of love, luck, a healthy, long and peaceful life, much fun with your parents and with your first buddy, who will always be there for you, too. Yours, Martin.”
These are just some examples of the things I do to stay in touch and to build strong customer relationships. I love to wow my clients, because little things in sales don't mean much, they mean everything.
By Martin Limbeck, an international sales authority and sought-after keynote speaker, dubbed “The Porsche of Sales.” He helps sales professionals seal more deals. Martin has trained and inspired audiences in sixteen countries for more than twenty years and is Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) who has been honoured as Top Speaker of the Year 2014, International Speaker of the Year 2012, and Trainer of the Year 2011 and 2008. He teaches at Reutlingen European School of Business, Steinbeis University Berlin, and St. Gallen University, and is the author of several bestsellers. His latest work is NO Is Short for Next Opportunity — How Top Sales Professionals Think.