By Molly DePasquale
As soon as you close a sale or bring in a new member, what should you do? Hopefully, you’ll give yourself a moment to celebrate and give yourself a pat on the back. But the most important thing to remember is that your work isn’t over; rather, it’s only just begun.
Here’s some food for thought:
Most revenue comes from existing customers (members are customers).
Happy customers become your top referral sources.
Customer retention lowers acquisition costs and increases revenue.
Whether or not your company has a dedicated team that handles the actual on-boarding, delivery, and support for whatever you just sold, it’s still on you to maintain a great relationship with them. It provides your company with additional credibility because your customers will see that they have an entire group of people who care about them and their business.
Even if the team takes over and it’s on their shoulders to ensure that the person or group renews, it will be much harder for the customer to go elsewhere when they’ve already created relationships with your entire company. And finally, it’s a small world, so maintaining good relationships with everyone you come across should be instinctive. Word of mouth and social media influencers can destroy as easily as they build up.
Here are three simple ways to maintain great relationships:
1. Social Media
This may be dependent on how and where you found your contact in the first place, but if you’re already connected on social media, then this is one of the easiest ways to stay in touch. If you haven’t yet connected on LinkedIn or Twitter, it’s probably time you sent that invite.
Think twice before trying to find them on Facebook. That’s a much more personal social channel where you should be cautious about building a professional relationship.
Once you’re connected, it’s time to maintain rapport. It shouldn’t be so much about sending messages along the lines of “How’s it going?” but more about sharing relevant information and ideas you think they would find helpful.
Have they posted anything you can provide a thoughtful comment on? Don’t simply like or retweet everything they post. Leave an actual comment that shows you’re listening and reading what’s important to them. This is also good information to have for knowing how to reach out to and engage other potential clients or members.
If you find anything they would be interested in — share it! They’ll appreciate the thought you put into it and will be pleased if whatever you’ve posted is actually useful to them in some way.
It’s easy to get carried away on social media, so ensure you’re keeping your interactions authentic and not overwhelming.
2. Health Check Calls
It’s great to check in to see how things are going. For clients, be sure to clear it with the person or team managing the account to avoid confusion and interference. Then ask them for an update so you’re clear on what’s going on with the account. This will give you an insightful way to lead a discussion with that client.
Then, find out what’s working. What’s not working? Do we need to make any changes or adjustments to ensure success? Even if you receive some critical feedback during this time, it provides you with the opportunity to course-correct before it’s too late.
If you can, schedule these health-check calls in advance. Doing so will help establish a regular communication cadence with your client and set the expectation that you want to remain involved and informed. It also creates a clear and open line of communication from both sides.
These scheduled check-in points provide value and are an excellent method for maintaining and growing a healthy relationship.
3. Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings
Living in the digital age of communication certainly has its perks, but when it comes to building and maintaining relationships, it’s not always the best approach.
It's much easier to build relationships through face-to-face meetings than with virtual meetings, and relationships are the key to any kind of long-term success. You can make more of an impression face-to-face based on what you are wearing, how you conduct yourself in the meeting, even your computer and pens, etc. This is a big part of our personal brand, whether you like it or not.
It's also easier to engage with people when sitting across from them. We can laugh, hear each other clearly, make a comment about something in the office or something we've seen on the way in, and so forth. While making small talk is often a dreaded activity, it can actually help foster your relationships.
When you meet face-to-face with someone you can gain a ton of information from a short interaction and then use it to tailor your pitch. If you’re lucky, you might even pick up a nugget of information (maybe you went to the same college, know the same person, share the same hobby, etc.) that will connect you with your prospect on an even deeper level.
Why It Matters
Without relationships your organization would be non-existent. This is why the more successful you are at understanding and forming relationships with your clients and members, the more successful you will be at growing.
You never know what positive outcomes maintaining great relationships can bring.
Molly DePasquale is the manager of operations and sales training strategist for DMTraining.