COVID Relationship Maintenance

Happy New Year! It’s been a little difficult making sales calls this past year and it may stay that way for a bit longer.  I can only imagine what those of you in California are experiencing. 

Over the past few years there has been some heated discussion generated by a Gallup study and subsequent book The Challenger Sale written in 2011 (pre pandemic).

I want to emphasize pre pandemic, because one thing we have learned since March of 2020 is maintaining some kind of relationship with your customer/client is critical.  You can’t go dark for nine months and expect to pick up where you left off when restrictions are lifted.  The aforementioned book suggests – and I agree – drop in/check in calls are useless.  Your call must answer the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) for your customer/client. 

I suffer from some Zoom fatigue after four or five Zoomers in one day too.  Be it through Zoom or some other platform, or email, or even snail mail, we need to maintain a relationship.  Here are a couple suggestions to make your pandemic relationship maintenance calls more valuable.

Offer relative content. 

You’ve had some down time.  Use it to catch up on what’s going on in your industry. Websites are still being updated, blogs are still being written and new products are still being developed. Set aside time every week to research your industry and those related to your space. Now, when you connect with customers you can talk about the latest and greatest developments. You will become an industry expert and they will welcome your calls.  When you come across an interesting article that you know a particular customer would enjoy – send it to them with a simple note like “thought you might enjoy this.”  It doesn’t always have to be business related.  It could be about their hobby. It’s all about maintaining your relationship.

Become a trusted advisor.  

As you gather relative content you will undoubtedly learn about products and services tangential to yours. Don’t be afraid to make referrals that may suit your customer’s needs better than yours.  You want to become the “go to” person for all things related to your industry, product or service.  I often suggest salespeople get to know their competitors better. Not just the companies, but the individual selling against you. Call them, invite them to lunch and learn they may not be such bad people after all. 

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