Five ways to turn a sale into a longstanding relationship

sales strategy
The sales industry revolves around two things: trust and value. Here’s how to harness the power of both and develop lasting customer relationships through a sales strategy.

(This article was originally published on entrepreneur.nl and has been edited for content and style.)

A strong sales strategy is critical to any organization. Whether you work in the payments industry or work with vacuum cleaners, no business can thrive without a quality sales force.

Successful sales strategies yield a valuable asset: customer trust. Strong customer relationships will ensure the longevity and success of an organization well beyond a good profit quarter. But trust is not easy to gain; it is earned over time by listening to and engaging with customers and by gaining a deep understanding of their goals, concerns, and limitations. Above all, a company’s sales strategy must communicate solutions that add meaningful value to the customer.

For this reason, we like to think of a sale as the beginning of a lasting relationship, not a single transaction, and that creates an opportunity to invest in and earn repeat business from existing customers. This new global approach to sales is a differentiator in the market. These are the key elements of a successful sales strategy that will win and retain customers in today’s constantly evolving and increasingly competitive market.

Lead with customer engagement

Customer engagement should be considered the cornerstone of quality sales practices in 2022 and beyond. Building a customer relationship and supporting future business is fundamental. Involvement in this context invites the customer to participate in defining objectives and providing feedback during their relationship with the company, and to share in successes. Technology can enhance this experience by facilitating communication with customers, providing a tool for measuring and evaluating performance, and providing routine updates.

For the brand, using technology to improve the customer experience maximizes every opportunity. If properly executed, the client becomes a partner in the project and both parties have an interest in a positive outcome.

Make Balanced Value the Goal

When you sit at the negotiating table, the customer on the other side immediately knows your underlying motive: you want to close the deal. But the best deals are made when the needs of both parties are met without exploiting the other.

This concept is known as balanced value and it happens when both the organization and the customer feel like they are walking away with a win. It is an important stepping stone to building a strong and lasting relationship with a customer and those relationships can be one of the most valuable to a company. It is generally easier and more fruitful to sell products to an existing customer than to acquire a new one. If you deliver value throughout the relationship lifecycle, customers will be happy to work with you again.

Find the problem

Every sale should be seen as an opportunity to solve a problem for the customer. That process begins by listening to the customer’s needs and challenges and then identifying product solutions that best fit those problems.

However, be careful not to put the cart before the horse by promoting the product and features without understanding the implementation. Instead, focus on the client’s unique pain points and then tailor a solution that most effectively meets those needs. Customized solutions ensure that customers receive the most relevant products and realize more value through their partnership with the company.

Target lifetime

There is a difference between winning a customer and keeping a customer. The first solves the customer’s first pain points; the latter is solving changing needs and maintaining a long-term relationship with the customer and that’s where you can find and extract real value. This strategy can sometimes conflict with sales compensation structures, which reward professionals for new clients and growth, but this approach often comes at a cost.

By focusing on the next deal, you risk losing existing customers, who are a company’s biggest resource and need to be protected. When a company focuses on serving existing customers and customer satisfaction, it drives growth and revenue from internal resources. Successful sales strategies must foster long-term customer trust and loyalty by working on existing customers rather than acquiring new ones.

Delivering value

Customers want collaboration, transparency and involvement and, above all, tangible results. Relationships are important, but they will only take you so far. Ultimately, you have to deliver value. This starts with a great product that can meet business goals and deliver long-term results, but that’s just the beginning.

Demonstrating those results to customers is an opportunity to build a relationship that goes beyond the initial transaction and retain customers for the long term, and that’s essential to operating a platform that converts a sale as an ongoing considers relationship. When a company is around to celebrate the success of the transaction, they extend the sales lifecycle, which is the gold standard in customer retention.

The best sales teams think you start losing a customer the day you sign them. Developing a relationship that meets the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s customer is the definition of success.

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