If you want to know how to gain more business out of your existing client relationships, here’s our list of top ten tips for outstanding client relationship management:
1. Build TrustSelling is like dating. You won’t get very far on the first contact (first date) if you try to sell right off the bat.
People are a lot more skeptical and informed.
You need to build up trust between you and your potential clients. That includes showing them how you understand the challenges they face in their business and how your products/services help them answer those challenges.
2. Build CredibilityUse common sense when dealing with clients. We recently had a client who’s account reps were over-sharing information with clients that should be kept internally – the account reps were hurting their credibility by acting unprofessional.
You’ve got to demonstrate to your clients that you are someone they can trust and someone who knows what they are talking about. That means you need to be knowledgeable and informed about the products/services you sell, your competitors products/services and show an in-depth knowledge of your client’s industry.
3. Be the go to personYou want to be one person that customers come to first whenever they have a problem or question about something happening in their industry.
Learn as much as you can and stay informed about everything happening that may be important to your clients. Share this knowledge and information with them so that when the time comes for the client looking for a paid answer to their problems, you’re the first one they call.
Be on your customer’s team.
4. Don’t be afraid to stay in contactMany relationship managers are afraid to contact clients on a regular basis for fear of annoying clients. It’s a valid concern IF every contact you make is a sales pitch. Follow the other tips listed here and you can stay in regular contact with your clients without being a nuisance.
5. Know which clients to focus your time onYou only have a limited number of hours during your work day, so you have to maximise the use of your client contact. If you follow the 80/20 rule, you should be spending 80% of your time with the top 20% of your clients that bring in 80% of your sales.
For the rest of the clients you should have a system to direct them to self-service areas and/or an assistant to help them with enquiries.
6. Don’t sell solutions – sell answers and resultsThis is a pet-peeve of mine. I cringe every time I hear a salesperson or website talk about their “solutions”. Don’t be that salesperson. Instead, be the one that has an answer to your client’s problems or the answer to what they want to achieve. The old story goes, no one buying a drill wants a “drill solution”. They want to make a hole.
7. Listen & observe your client’s pains and challenges rather than pushing a productI briefly touched on this in the other points, but this one deserves to be mentioned on its own. You need to understand the pains, challenges and goals your clients face so you can align the products/services you offer in a way that resolves their challenges or helps them meet their goals.
8. Don’t compete on priceThe worst nightmare for a salesperson (and a business) is competing based on price. This is a no-win situation for you because there will ALWAYS be someone willing to go the lowest (they most likely won’t be around very long).
If a client is on a budget or is asking for a discount, try reducing the services offered or offer a product with fewer features. If you take away from the price, you should also take away from the offering.
Other ways to not compete on price is to be able to answer the next two questions…
9. Be able to answer: why should your client buy from you?Most sales and relationship managers won’t know how to answer this question or at least not answer it a way that will blow your client away. You should be able to demonstrate to your clients (and potential clients) the BENEFITS of your product or service.
Basically, you need to tell them what your product/service will do for them rather than just what your product/services does.
10. Be able to answer: how are you different from all the other vendors?Just like tip number 9, this is a difficult question to answer and one that most salespeople don’t answer effectively. Both questions are related.
To answer this effectively, you also need to be knowledgeable about your competitor’s offerings. Your marketing department should be able to help you list out all the ways in which your product/service is noticeably different from your competitors and why this difference is important to them.
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