By Tom Hopkins
There are a lot of people who think that studying history is a waste of time. I mean, what does the War of 1812 have to do with you reaching your goal of closing a certain number of sales this month? Or, even this year? I can appreciate the point of people who think that way, but would suggest that they not drop the subject of history in its entirety.
As a sales trainer and businessman, I rely on history quite heavily—my own personal history. When students at my seminars pose questions about particular selling situations, I review my personal selling history to come up with solutions they can use today. So, when it comes to the subject of history, I will ask you to keep good and accurate records of your own history, including as much information as you can possibly gather from every client you meet. Forming such a habit will make a powerful, positive impact on your production in the long run.
Right now, ask yourself these two questions:
1) Are you happy with your production so far this year?
2) In reviewing the business you have conducted just this year, what would you have done differently, if you could go back and do it over?
Since business is not like a kids’ game where you can request a do-over, you must plan for improvement based on what your answers are to those two questions—your recent business history. When you know how you would have handled past situations differently, you’ve already learned how to improve your future from what you did in the past.
Increasing production tends to be the most common goal of sales pros, yet I have not found many who can tell me how they’re getting new business from old clients. In other words, few are working their client files properly. They’re not receiving maximum benefit from the hard work they’ve done in the past.
One of the major areas is money left on the table with past clients. Sure, you handled their needs professionally once. You may even have sent them thank you notes or an occasional reminder that you’re willing to serve their needs again. Maybe you gave them a note pad or pen with your name on it. But, how well are you actually serving them? How good you are depends on how much information you keep on your clients.
During my real estate career, I gathered so much information about my clients that I could always find a reason to contact them. I knew their names, their kids’ names, whether or not they had pets, where they worked, and what their interests were. I always had something topical to discuss with them. I had a plan to get in front of them a minimum of six times each year. That way, when they thought about real estate, they thought about me. Even better, when the competition contacted them, they thought about me. They loved me for remembering them, making them feel important, and treating them like family. They loved me so much that by my third year in the business, my business was 98% referral-based.
As a side note, a great strategy if you sell to consumers is to find out the date of their wedding anniversary and send them a note or card early. My little note has saved many spouses from forgetting the date themselves!
Just like your relationships with friends and family members, developing long-term relationships with clients takes some time and effort. You need to work at having them equate your name and face with any and all of their needs that your product handles. If you offer several products, keep your mind open for opportunities to re-sell or upsell existing clients. They already like and trust you, don’t they? For existing clients who may not be thinking of making a purchase right now, why not nudge them a bit into action, or at least into considering options where your services come into play?
Be there to answer questions for all of your clients. These days, business situations are dynamic. Your product that didn’t work for a client last month, might be perfect for them today. Your life is constantly evolving – so are their needs. Work that to your advantage. Keep yourself in the back of their minds as an industry expert. Become their go-to guy or gal.
If you haven’t been staying in touch with past clients, start reconnecting with them now. It could very well be that they’re in the market for your service and you’ll show up just in time to take care of them.
Tom Hopkins is world-renowned as America’s #1 sales trainer. For over 30 years, millions of sales professionals around the world have learned how to serve more people with his proven-effective selling skills. His books have sold in the millions and hundreds of thousands of people benefit from his recorded audio and video programs every day. Contact Tom Hopkins International by calling (800) 528-0446 or at www.tomhopkins.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.