It is not uncommon for sales professionals and organizations to operate too narrowly in the relationships they have with customers. They can easily get stuck in one swim lane with the contacts they have developed and the products or services they sell.
Spending time assessing what is going on across their entire customer’s business and connecting with a broader contact base (think “high, wide and deep” relationships) can spawn many new and previously unidentified potential opportunities.
When you look at your existing customer relationships, look for opportunities where you can provide more value. Analyze what they’re currently buying from you and then find the gaps. Are there complementary services or products that you might be able to provide for them that can boost their growth and performance?
Make sure too that you leverage the relationships you have by asking for referrals. This has been a very traditional practice in sales.In the B2B world, a lot of people have lost sight of that. It doesn’t seem to be as fashionable as perhaps it once was, and yet there’s still a lot of opportunity to find new clients by asking your customers for other people who could benefit from your services.
One thing that’s never really changed and still is a big factor in sales is building trust. Integrity, respect, and credibility have always been integral in forging long-term relationships. In the complex selling world, it’s even more complicated because there is more than just me and you in the relationship. As a seller you have a team; there are multiple people dealing with the client. And that makes it a bit trickier to engender that type of long-term relationship. You have to make sure that you’re connected in all the places you need to be, with all of the key players, but also that your team members understand their roles and and how they can help support and drive that, too.
The foundation for creating new opportunities with existing clients lies in making sure you’re providing value. Set up checkpoints and regularly get feedback from the customer as to how you’re performing. You can make that as formal or informal as you see fit. To do it formally, set some criteria that can be evaluated and measured, and establish a cadence of quarterly business reviews. Informally, you can simply keep your finger on the pulse of what the customer is thinking about and how that customer feels about the relationship. The important thing is to focus on results for them and help drive results in their business. That’s how you create a solid platform for an enduring, long-term relationship.
Credits: Miller Heiman