Obviously, you’ve always got to work at bringing in new clients, but taking your existing clients for granted and not maintaining those relationships is a surefire way to make your first sale with them you’re only sale with them.
Your first interactions with a client set the tone for that relationship. They bought into how you sold to them and are likely going to expect that same behavior well into the future.
If you start treating them differently or are inconsistent with how you communicate with them, you may be damaging your relationship.
Those changes may be as big as ignoring a client after the sale – “They’re customer service’s problem now.” But it could be as small as taking an extra day to follow-up or changing the way you greet them.
When the customer buys from you, they’re probably thinking long-term. They have expectations (fair or not) about what it’s going to be like dealing with you in the future. If you’re not thinking the same way, you’re going to find yourself with a lot of one-time buyers.
Even though you should be keeping your customer’s expectations in mind over the long-term, it’s important to also recognize that those expectations may, in fact, change.
Where a lot of people run into issues with long-term sales relationships is in assuming that the expectations the client had when the relationship started are the same a year later.
Even if you’re doing a good job responding to whatever the initial expectations were, you may be completely missing the mark and driving a wedge between you and client.
They may have initially been focused on price or speed of delivery. A year later they may have changed gears and be expecting higher quality or different volumes or something you never even thought to ask about.
Unless you’re always asking questions and working on the relationship, you may drift wildly out of touch with what your customers want from you.