Most of us understand the importance of maintenance. We maintain our homes, the cars we drive, our bodies. Of course, in spite of our best efforts our roof can still develop a leak, cars break down unexpectedly, and we may even need to visit the emergency room once in a while. That is simply the nature of living in the material world – stuff breaks. But that’s all the more reason to perform regular maintenance on what’s important to us. In business – and especially sales – what could be more important than maintaining our client relations?
So, how should we take care of our business relationships? I think it was Woody Allen that said, “showing up is half the battle”. Well, that’s a start. We all get so caught up in the demands of our day that maintenance sometimes takes a back seat. Take the time to get in front of them. Find a reason if one doesn’t immediately come to mind. You never can tell what will come of it.
So we show up, then what? Simple, we ask a question then sit back and listen. I know it’s cliche but it really is true – we need to be good listeners. Personally, I know I am doing a good job when I stop trying to be interesting and start being interested. It’s surprising what can happen when we show interest in our client’s business, their problems, and what is important to them. It also doesn’t hurt to show interest in who they are either. After all, they are more than their job. They are people with outside interests, hobbies, families, and dreams. That doesn’t mean we pry into their personal lives – just show an interest.
Just as we maintain our cars by performing regular oil changes, tire rotation, etc., we must maintain our client base by being sure their needs are met. Take the pulse and see if we are still held in the same high regard that won us the business in the first place.
No one would drive around on a flat tire. Why would we put off maintaining the relationships that support our business?