Article

A Salesperson's Most Valuable Asset

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Dave Anderson - Also by this author

The easiest customers to close, the most profitable customers and those who give the highest customer satisfaction scores all have one thing in common: they are repeat or referral clients. At this week’s meeting, discuss the following points to make sure your sales team is mining their most valuable asset—their customer base.
1. People don’t go to much trouble to remember you. You may have gotten along well with a customer and the sales process progressed smoothly, but don’t deceive yourself into thinking your customers will automatically ask for you when they return to purchase again—or that they’ll instinctively send you referrals. You must become a more active marketer and unabashed promoter of your own services. And the key to marketing is repetition. Your customer base needs to hear from you consistently over time; through follow-up calls, mailers, cards, newsletters, etc. There isn’t one right way to follow-up with your client base. The one wrong way is to neglect it. You need to develop a system that works for you. This system should include spaced repetition, over time. If your company provides these tools for you and you don’t use them, you’re blowing a golden opportunity. These customers are your future. They make you less dependent on fresh traffic—you know, the people who don’t know, like or trust you yet and who beat you up over price and then give you poor customer satisfaction scores. They also add consistency to your monthly sales count because the stronger stable of repeat and referral customers you build, the steadier your sales are and the less susceptible you become to suffering the drastic ups and downs that psych out so many salespeople.

2. Your customer base is a goldmine. Until you see your client base as a genuine goldmine, you’ll never treat it with the seriousness and intensity it deserves. The people in your files are worth big money. In fact, they’re worth really big money over time. Could you imagine having a portfolio of investments that you didn’t take care of or pay attention to? Your customer base is the equivalent. And while there’s no doubt that if you stay in the business long enough, and never follow up, you will still luck into a repeat customer or referral from time to time, you’ll be reaping mere nuggets from an asset that is capable of producing Fort Knox. Remember one thing about a goldmine: even though it holds millions of dollars worth of gold, it’s all worthless until you work it and get it out of the ground. The same goes for your customer base. It will take work. Consistent work. And you’ll need to stick with it over time.

3. Keep the long view in mind. Many salespeople don’t work their customer base because they’re blinded by short-term thinking. They believe that since the customer walking through the door today is a more immediate sale, they don’t have time to follow up. You’ll never hit the big time until you can balance the need to make the immediate sale with the importance of building your long-term future. You can do both. It takes focus and commitment but the best salespeople find a way to do it. In fact, if you want to join the swelling ranks of salespeople earning six figure incomes, doing both is not an option.

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