So, its been an interesting week in Start-Up and Innovation Land. Back in the saddle after two weeks off and I felt a little like it was groundhog day with everyone needing the same advice.
Customer Loyalty isn’t Just About Sales Activity
I’m going to be brave and say this out loud – I rarely work with people for whom sales skill comes naturally. Often I’m working with founders of technology or digital companies whose natural talent lies in their creativity. They are fabulous at inventing clever digital products or technological gadgets and being innovative but uncomfortable selling.
The usual advice is: you are SO enthusiastic and you SO understand your product, go out and talk about it wherever you can but don’t be afraid to ask people to pay for it. Let’s look closely at your sales cycle and get something formalised etc
However, what I’ve discussed a lot this week is how without a similar amount of energy then being directed into account management, every contract renewal ends up being a new (and therefore scary) sales pitch with founders worrying about previous delivery despite the fact that the service they have provided thus far has been without fault and often well above a clients expectation.
RE-pitching simply isn’t necessary as often as you might think. As good practice, make sure you stay in touch with your clients, ask for regular feedback, report on your service to them if there is an opportunity to do so and most importantly, continually demonstrate your value to their business preferably by demonstrating how your product or service is having a positive effect on their profits.
Staying in touch and subtly reinforcing your value often will have a huge impact on your client retention and your ability to up-sell or on-sell without it feeling too much like sales!
If you want some handy sales tips make sure you attend the next Barnsley Digital Media Centre Breakfast Club on Tuesday 9th July at 9am to hear the fabulous Chrissie Slater of SBC talk sustainable sales – book here http://www.barnsleydmc.co.uk/centre_events/635-dmc-breakfast-club-july-2013