By Tom Fedro
Like a good friend, great sales professionals continue their customer relationships long after the sale has closed. This is especially important when working in a Business to Business (B2B) software sales environment. Whether you’re selling office supplies, commercial real estate, or (as in our case at Paragon Software Group) high value software solutions, the best marketing tool to generate new sales is word-of-mouth. To that end, here are a few tips to build long-term relationships and improve your credibility and reputation.
1. During the sales cycle, act as an extension of the client’s / prospect’s team by helping to solve problems and by providing solutions; don’t just sell software
2. When negotiating contracts, ensure the customer always feels like he won in the deal, without your giving away the store—a great deal is an honest win-win contract—ensure mutual satisfaction
3. Stay with the customer long after the sale is complete; reach out to them on a regular basis ensuring that they are happy with the software; you may uncover a new opportunity
4. Keep the communication line open by sending them useful information to their business or an article that could impact them now and then
5. If they encounter problems, don’t avoid them, follow up quickly to fix the issue, acting as a liaison between them and customer support
By adding value to your partner relationships, you will build trust over time, which in turn will convert into repeat sales should the client contact move to another position or potentially another company. These valuable connections will continue to generate new sales through recommendations, upgrades and new projects. Long-term success is keeping the customer satisfied; it costs much more to make a sale to a new customer than to one with which you have already established a strong relationship.