Do not view a sale as the end of the service process. As soon as someone agrees to become your client, you must transition from the role of salesperson to client service manager. The sale of a single product is just the beginning of a long-term relationship, and keeping that connection healthy and profitable requires not only a commitment to ongoing service, but the ongoing delivery of added value.
How do you build client capital? When speaking with clients, do you talk in terms of “I” or “we”?
Norm Trainor uses the word “harvest” when talking about the ongoing client relationship in The 8 Best Practices of High-Performing Salespeople. It’s necessary to cultivate your commitment to customer service and nurture it so it continues to bear fruit for both the advisor and the client.
Frame the relationship as a partnership, rather than a single advisor-client interaction, and consistently deliver on the promises you made in the initial sale in order to “harvest” your existing clients for additional sales in the future.
As Sydney Barrows points out in Entrepreneur magazine, excellent customer service begins by being able to identify and then solve a client’s problem, and is sustained when you tirelessly work to find a solution if one is not readily available. Work with the client to determine the best path for solving the issue, and demonstrate your dedication by seeking out new approaches and delivering value-added service.
When closing the first sale, you should go over all the intricacies of the policy or product to ensure your client has realistic expectations, regularly drawing a link back to how it addresses and presents a solution to his or her problem. Delivering the product presents an opportunity to reposition yourself from salesperson to advisor and set the client’s expectations for future service and interactions.
Norm notes in the book that this is the point at which you “make your clients aware that you will be contacting them when necessary to inform them of new products that fit their needs and, in addition, you must let them know they can always call you if their needs change.”
In addition, you must exceed clients’ expectations by offering value beyond the services you provide. Do you know of other issues that your clients face? Send them helpful resources that cover these topics, or consider running an educational seminar on related subjects.