You just closed a huge contract and you’re flying high on the post-deal buzz, complete with high fives from your colleagues, and a nod and thumbs up from your boss. Your commission check is going to have a little extra padding this month, and you’re feeling great. Suddenly you are hit with the heavy and disappointing realization that your pipeline is now much smaller than it was, and you no longer have this exciting contract to look forward to. It’s already closed, now what?
One of the biggest and most common mistakes companies and salespeople make is assuming that the sales avenue is over after the initial deal is closed. Worse yet is the assumption that a customer is no longer of value after they sign the contract and become a client. Ironically enough, the closed deal is just the beginning of a tremendously lucrative opportunity for the account representative who is able identify its massive potential and act on it strategically. Here’s why:
- Customers are often a source of repeat business. If your customer is hooked on your product or service, it’s likely they will renew their contract or use your business at another time. Customer loyalty is a huge advantage that will ensure more deals in the future as long as the service and performance is satisfactory. In fact, there are very few successful companies that have only one-time customers, so take advantage of the opportunity to retain customers through great service, a great product experience, and the presentation of new products or services that your customers would want to purchase.
- The accounts of happy customers tend to grow over time. During the lifetime of a typical customer relationship, there are consistent opportunities for upselling. Whether you are adding new services to their accounts, offering additional features to compliment or facilitate their experience with your business, or selling new products they would benefit from using, your current customers are your easiest sell. This is because, as your customer, they have already established trust in you and see the value in being your customer. Upselling also increases their level of commitment to your business and makes it more difficult for them to switch to another company or provider.
- Customer referrals are sales gold. Nothing is better than a hot lead, and current customers are the best source for those opportunities. If your customers are happy with their experience, they won’t hesitate to refer new business to you because most customers like to share their joy with friends/family/business partners. Creating a referral program or some kind of incentive can even be a catalyst to make your customers work for you as your own personal “sales team”. Moreover, the referrals you get will listen more carefully to your sales presentation knowing that their peer is already a happy client of yours.
The one caveat I will mention here is that growth doesn’t always happen on its own. Often you will need to seek out these opportunities by contacting your current clients and asking (again) for their business. Ask your customers to renew, to upgrade, and to refer. Don’t neglect your customers after you sell them; treat current clients just as well as, if not better than, your prospects and continue to check in and offer great customer service. Identifying and acting on these opportunities will ensure that the selling doesn’t end just because the deal is closed.