How Many Relationships Are You Building?

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” – Dale Carnegie.

When you close a deal, what’s your next step? When you sign the contract, shake the hand and file the paperwork – what comes next? Is there a next? Or simply a next customer?

Businesses talk a lot about ROI, or return on investment. They look at the man hours, financial costs, ad spend and more to get a customer to make the purchase. Every sale has to justify the outlay. But what about the customer? What about their ROI from you?

A sale isn’t just about closing the deal. A sale isn’t just about dipping your pen into the inkwell again before the previous signature has dried. A sale isn’t one-way traffic of the customer into your sales lair. At least, it shouldn’t be.

Imagine you’re Joe Average. You work 60 hours a week to make ends meet. You do your time, pay your bills, feed your family and keep a roof over their heads. Everything you buy has to be fine tailored to fit the budget. You see something you want and you put aside money diligently every week to buy it.

You go to the store, or car showroom, or furniture showroom. You talk shop with the sales guy, and he’s nice. Interested in you. Wants to help you make your choice. So you do. You pay the price, say thanks and go home and wait for your new purchase to be delivered. A week later it arrives, then that’s it. End of story.

Now, imagine it a little differently. Imagine it as a relationship.

The Relationship Behind the Sale

You go to the store, or car showroom, or furniture showroom. You talk shop with the sales guy, and he’s nice. Interested in you. Wants to help you make your choice. So you do. You pay the price, say thanks and go home and wait for your new purchase to be delivered. Within 24 hours, the sales guy calls and confirms your delivery time. A week later it arrives.

A couple of days after delivery, your sales guy calls again and asks how your new purchase is. Not customer service. Not the after-sales team, but the sales guy who sold you your new toy. He wants to make sure you’re happy and that to call if you have any issues at all. You say you will, then hang up the phone with the biggest smile on your face. Now that’s service!

Sales guys don’t have time to follow up, they’re too busy selling? No-one offers that kind of service? This example is unrealistic? They do, and it’s not.

Sales is Service is PR is Service is Marketing

People are emotional beings. We live by how we feel; act on how we’re acted upon; respond to how we’re treated. All our decisions are based around our emotions and how we experience a moment.

Think of any business transaction you’ve had as a customer. The best ones will remain in your mind for all the right reasons, and chances are you’ve made repeat purchases with these vendors because of your user experience. The bad ones? They remain with you too; but your business with the vendor doesn’t.

So the next time you make a sale or win a new client, try this checklist if you’re not already using any of them:

  • Add the details to a database and set alerts for relevant promotions. Not just every promotion you have, but ones that are relevant to your new customer.
  • If you received personal details like date of birth, send a birthday gift or card.
  • Set up calendar reminders for regular check-ins. Nothing so frequent to annoy, but regular enough to care.
  • If there’s a business near your new customer they can benefit from that ties into your sale, refer them. It shows you really have their best interests at heart, not to mention builds a great business relationship with the other business.

Sales are important – every single business needs sales to survive. But quick buck sales only last so long; they’re simply bush fires that will run their course. Relationship sales that genuinely caress our emotions, though? That’s the money right there.

How many relationships are you building?

image: dann_z

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