Is a once-per-year reminder sufficient? How about twice per year? Three times?
Most people agree that, ideally, they’d like to “remind” their customers many more times each year; in fact, they say they’d like to keep a reminder of some sort in front of their customers as frequently as possible.
This leads us to a couple of critical questions:
- How often should we remind our customers of the value we provide?
- How should we do it?
Questions about the ideal contact frequency are among the most frequently-asked (see our previous post for some added perspective…) Generally speaking, sales calls and marketing messages become “over-done” when they fail to provide value to the customer or prospect.
This leads nicely to our second question how will we accomplish this value-added approach? Here are three simple and proven best-practices that can help:
Master the practice of pre-call planning. The most successful sales people plan their calls very carefully, based on research and record-keeping (i.e., effective use of a C.R.M. system), thus their calls tend to be more value-added. These sales people are able to accomplish more during each call and have a stronger impact on each customer or prospect. Even better, they use the written pre-call plan as a post-call review tool.
Questions are the answer. If we do plan our sales calls or presentations, many of us tend to focus on our “speaking points.” In other words, the things we plan to say.
When planning and executing sales contacts, it’s better to put an equal amount of focus and thought into the things we will ask.Asking the right questions is how we learn about our customers’ needs, interests, priorities and challenges; it is how we determine what to do and say next; it is how we solidify true selling relationships. As a rule-of-thumb, try to craft questions that focus on what people are trying to accomplish rather than on what they “think they need.”
In addition, a frequent by-product of asking good questions is enhanced listening. It’s much easier to listen if we stop talking! Good listening also sends a strong implied message to our customers: we care!
Develop a proactive style. This simply means that we end each interaction with a specifically-defined consequential next step a call to action in which we take the proactive position. This helps in several ways.
- It sets the stage for a higher contact frequency
- It shows the customer or prospect that we care and that we value their business
- It often makes things easier for our customer, by helping them to get things done in a timely fashion
- It shortens the selling cycle
- It confirms our professionalism