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June 27 2019.
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I recently conducted a customer satisfaction study for a client in engineering industry, on effectiveness of sales personnel. The study covered over 450 customer organizations across the country, which included 2-3 decision makers in each of the customer organization.

One of the major finding (amongst many other crucial learning points) was ;

- Sales person contact clients only when there is an enquiry.

In this article, let's address this problem by exploring various ways a sales person can keep in touch without becoming an irritant.

1. Assess the lifetime value:
Staying top of mind takes time & patience -something all sales-marketing personnel seems to have too little of. Before you prepare a six times or more per year contact plan, make sure you want to keep in touch. Ask yourself, "How much business will this client potentially have over the next 12-24 months? Is it worth my time to make sure we are the first ones they think of for new assignments?"

As much as we can grow to like our clients on a personal level, not all are worth a continuing business relationship.

2. Have a value added conversation:
The fear of bothering or annoying their clients keeps many salespersons from contacting them. In some cases, that may actually be the truth, especially the discussion consist of you asking, "So, when we (or I) will get the order?" . However, in each contact you make, if you provide some sort of value, they will look forward to hearing from you and ultimately remember you by the extra value you provide.

You can provide value in the form of new information about trends in their industry, an article you thought would be of interest to them, or simply a perspective on a recent news item about the client's company.

3. Educate them about you:
If you only call your clients once a year, do not be surprised when a client says, "I didn't know you did that, too." It is important to let clients know about new products/services you provide that they may not have experienced. If they are happy clients, they will certainly be open to hearing about the other work you do.

They will be even more receptive to hearing about your services if you provide value in the telling-case studies, 'what-if' scenarios from the work, similarities of problems and solutions, etc.

4. Not an e-mail every time.
We all like variety in our lives. Do not let your communication plan get stuck in the world of electronics. Letters, especially because they are so rare these days, stand out and get through. Hand-written cards, newsletters, brochures, and phone calls all provide a different feel and impression to your clients.

By mixing up the communication vehicles, you stand a better chance of your clients actually seeing and reading what you have sent. In addition, old-fashioned hard copy material will stay on the client's desk and become more than just top of mind & maybe remain closest at hand.

5. Build the Relationship:
In the end, getting business is all about relationships. True relationships are honest, sincere, and of value to both parties. As you work to stay top of mind, also be true of heart in developing a relationship that is meaningful and desired by the client as much as it is desired by you.

The client relationship built on a strong foundation of periodic, valued, and sincere communication has less of a chance of being ignored, when someone new comes along or you happen to be the last one in the door.

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