The ink is barely dry on the contract; everyone is satisfied that they have a good deal – “win-win.” In fact, you have already mentally spent the commission, and now you are salivating at the thought of the next big kill.
These guys are happy, and if they need anything else, they’ll call you. They are in the bag, you can relax, they are now your client for life. Time to get back to the office and enjoy all the adulation, and admiration.
No, very, very, wrong!
Let’s re-examine that first paragraph in some detail: To begin with, you may think that everyone is satisfied that they have a good deal (“win-win”) but in reality, your client will not reach that point until installation / implementation / honeymoon period / trial run has been completed. If other departments or support staff are involved, there is still lots of time for them to completely screw it up. “There’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.”
We should also assume that your client is not going to pay until they sign-off to say that they are completely satisfied they have received everything they were expecting – even if it is the final stage payment. So “mentally spending the commission” is premature to say the least.
This rationale does not just apply to “big-ticket” or “solution selling,” it applies throughout the sales space. For example, if I come into your restaurant and order a meal, you do not expect me to pay unless I have received good service and value for money – do you?
The point I am making is that getting the order is merely the first stage in the closing process – not the final act. There is still so much work to do if you are to convert this buyer into a regular customer, and ideally an “advocate.”
Beyond achieving a satisfied buyer, we should be looking even further beyond. Rather than salivating at the thought of the next big kill, we should be thinking about developing this relationship, and moving it from the precarious “me too,” or even “me first” scenario, to the much more secure “only me” one – and that takes time, patience, and a strategic mind-set as basic requirements.
You have done a lot of the hard work already – you discovered the opportunity, qualified it, carried out all the usual foreplay activities and actions, so now harvest it, and achieve a proper return on your investment.
Don’t get lured into commercial promiscuity and go chasing the next big exciting deal before you have consolidated this one.
And don’t keep leaving money on the table – your boss will not thank you for it, and his boss will be even more…. unhappy!
As I was writing this, I took a few moments out to think about my own experiences, and I cannot think of one client who didn’t place a larger order with me the second time round. The first order has always been the “hors d’oeuvres” – always, without exception.
So there you have it, a close is not a close unless and until….
And by the way, nobody, ever, should consider that they have a “client for life.” That isn’t complacency, it is arrogance!
Your client’s view of you is only as good as their last interaction with you!