I remember back around 1999-2000, I once tried for two years to get a meeting with a CEO of one of the world’s largest software companies. Finally I did it. We arranged dates and locations where we would meet in London.
I had a plan. I arrived, and after the introductions we started talking for the next 90 minutes.
As we talked, the plan went out of the window. The client and me talked about which Star Trek series was better, original series or Next Generation? It was the best meeting I ever had.
That year we did some serious business with that company and my main contact was the CEO who asked me to call him directly. I did. We are still in touch today.
A few years later, I moved on to a different department but stayed in touch with nearly all my old clients. I would send jokes, invite them for drinks, ask for advice, and offer congratulations when I found out any good news about them or their organisations, or any other reason to say “Hi”.
When I returned to business development, nearly all of them did business with me and made new referrals to me. All of them were happy.
Former satisfied customers talk to others, so they’re important for getting referrals.
If we want to build a business that is well spoken of, it’s our former and current customers that we want the words to come from. According to Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) 54 per cent of sales are generated through personal recommendations with 92 per cent of people trusting without question the recommendations from a close one.
And what does it cost you in terms of time, and money? Not much.
Some estimates say it costs five to 20 times more to win new clients than to keep existing ones. We spend a lot of time and money getting customers. So once we’ve got them, let’s not lose touch with them.
All you have to do is pick up the phone, or send an email once in a while. Be polite, accommodating and kind and you will be rewarded in solid business contacts and loyal customers.
What it does take is a bit of organisation. Keep note of clients’ birthdays, anniversaries, children’s names etc, and ask how they are doing.
It’s really common sense. People buy people first and they need to trust you.
Ask yourself: when was the last time you willingly did business with someone who you didn’t like? We just don’t, so why would they?
If all we ever do is call our contacts when we need them, then it feels like we are using them and they feel used too.
How do we feel when an old friend or family member doesn’t make contact for years and then suddenly calls us out of the blue? I know I usually think, “What do you need? You only call when you need me.”
We should reach out to them even when we don’t need them. That way, when you need something, that call that you make is like calling a friend. That can only be good for business.
You can Read this published article here:
Never forget that old contacts are gold contacts.
Tags: leadership / published / sales / training