Regular client visits have long been a passion topic of mine. The little e-book “Repeat Sales Calls made easy” was written in response to a questions I often get in sales training around ‘what to say when you are seeing a customer several times in a year.’
If you regularly visit key accounts, which visit would you say was the most important?
I would argue that every visit is important but the final one of the year holds the most potential. The golden rule of every sales visit is that you must add value. For your final visit of the year consider asking for a bit more time and use the extra time to cement your relationship and set high expectations for the coming year.
To leave a great impression that lasts over to the next year try this simple 3 step approach- remind them, excite them and delight them
Remind them of the journey this year has been. The best way to do this is to find out from them what sticks in their mind. Remember it is not what happened that matters – it is what the client tells themselves about what happened that matters. This is your chance to hear from them. Look through your CRM notes and structure a few questions to explore this.
Avoid the bland broad questions that gets standard responses. “How has the year been?” is too broad and invites the “It was good” response. Rather remind them, reflect, and redefine the moments. Pick a successful product/project and ask a question around it that starts and sets a positive trend with the conversation, “How are the team enjoying the ‘x’ product?” If there have been some tough patches through the year share your learning and look to share a laugh, share the ups and downs, the challenges and successes and highlight how your relationship grew and why it was beneficial for them. If you are currently going through a tough patch reassure them by telling what positive action you are taking. (Hint – don’t avoid the visit out of fear. Show that you care and are there to serve)
Excite them about the future. Find out what they have planned for the summer (and please note this down to ask about in your first visit next year!) Discuss what the business is looking like for the year ahead. Find positives in the news to refer to. Develop questions that get your client to focus on the positive – remember you get more of what you focus on so focus on what you want more of. “What is their most exciting project for the coming year?”, “What are their plans for the their team?”, “What are they most looking forward to next year?”. Remember to set a date to catch up early in the new year to jointly plan and work with them to help them achieve their goals for the year ahead.
Delight them and leave a great impression. Be prepared. Do not “wing-it” for this meeting. If possible ask the business owner and/or sales manager to accompany you to show your companies appreciation for the work given through the year. If appropriate give a gift. (Side marketing note – Have your brand on the product.) If not appropriate to give a gift, because it is against corporate policy, be creative. A hand written note of thanks goes a long way. For your key customers it is important let them know they matter and are important and appreciated. Look for ways to leave a lasting impression.
Of all client meetings, the end of year review and overview may have the greatest potential for demonstrating value, ensuring the client feels everything is on track and relevant, and deepening the mutual commitment of the client to the ongoing relationship.
Here’s to your success