Creating a Customer for Life in Volatile Times

By Rachel Cavallo on Aug 6, 2020

What if TODAY, during this crazy pandemic, is the day that you create a customer for life?

If you’ve sold to small or mid-sized businesses, you’ve inevitably run into THAT customer who isn’t going to buy from you no matter how low you drop your price or how superior your offering is.  This customer is fully dedicated to one supplier because that company helped his business in a fundamental way – either by helping him get his start, or saving him from a fate that threatened his business.  He has relentless loyalty and implicit trust in this supplier.

What if TODAY is the day you create this kind of loyalty with customers? Not just “right now” loyalty, but enduring loyalty that your customers will talk about 5 or 10 years from now? The kind of loyalty that gets you out of the price game and into the value game?

Imagine if TODAY is the day that you don’t sell what’s in your bag, but instead take the time to listen to a customer so intently that you understand the essence of the problems she currently faces and help her navigate waters that might just save her business… or maybe just save a couple of employees?

Rather than focusing on this week or quarter, imagine playing the long game today – listening, asking questions, empathizing, and brainstorming.  Imagine bringing value TODAY that solves fundamental business challenges for tomorrow… SHOWING (not just telling) your customer that her business is important to you.

But how?  What can YOU do?  What expertise do YOU have at your disposal today?

 

For starters, you call on your customer’s peers, right?

You have a line of sight into what others are doing in their space (or, you could, if you are listening to them).  By now you’ve probably seen some best practices, and you might even be able to connect your customer with others facing similar challenges. 

We’ve seen sellers establish social media sites for their customers.

We’ve seen factory reps going on sales calls to help their customers win deals.

We’ve seen other sellers going so far as to lobby state legislature to get their customers back to work.

Understand what your customers need, and get creative about how you can help. Maybe it’s finding new customers, brainstorming new marketing ideas, rethinking social media or online presence, figuring out how to meet with their customers virtually, or streamlining how business gets done.  You likely won’t have all the answers or the time to actually do much of the heavy lifting, but you can add value – even if you are just a collaborator or a connector.

 

You have peers, too, right? 

Most likely they are calling on customers with similar challenges.  Reach out and ask what their customers are doing.  In fact, with today’s rapid pace of change, you can and should do this frequently.

Ask if you can add a quick conversation about this to a weekly team call.  Sales managers love to see ideas “cross-pollenate” on their teams.

We’ve seen sellers working with each other to facilitate virtual “cohorts” of customers from across the country for the purpose of sharing ideas or gaining valuable insights. It’s amazing how open customers are about sharing their strategies when they are not competing with one another.

We’ve also seen sellers working together to figure out how they can train their customers to help them be more successful.

 

Finally, you’ve got a manager, right?

Your manager probably has a good idea of what your company could do to support customers like yours, maybe even a few things you haven’t heard before – so ASK! 

We know many sellers are exploring how they can help with financing and payment terms as well as how they can provide business services on top of the products that they sell.  Don’t be afraid to collect creative ideas to your manager. Everyone is looking to see how they can progress during this crazy time. If you have an idea that can add value for a customer AND potentially create a successful customer for life, perhaps your manager can help you make it happen.

The success of your customer’s business is critical to your success today, but HOW you go about helping them can create that relentless, enduring loyalty that can yield benefits for years to come.

So, go for it!  Go create lifetime loyalty by helping your customers navigate to the other side of this crazy time. Go!

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Rachel Cavallo

Written by Rachel Cavallo

If there’s anyone who understands how sales people tick, it’s Rachel Cavallo. Rachel specializes in strategies that drive sales forces to adopt real change… the kind of change that produces results. She has managed many sales force transformations, helping sales leaders realign organizations and define new selling models, as well as designed and delivered sales training, coaching, and change management programs. At Symmetrics Group, Rachel is loved for her creativity and big picture thinking – she has a knack for crystallizing complex concepts into a single picture with high impact messages.

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