7. Don’t be a jerk.
Seriously. I know that might sound funny but I've seen it so often that I feel it's important to state. If I've learned one thing about this industry it's that it is very small and the people you interact with (be they clients, partners or competitors) move around a lot. Your reputation of being a jerk can spread quickly and have very adverse affects in your sales efforts. You never know when the person you are meeting with will potentially be your next client, employer, employee or competitor.
Example. I'll never forget presenting to a group of staffing suppliers about how our new relationship with a hospital was going to affect them. During the presentation the VP of Sales for one of the companies was completely inappropriate and unprofessional with her behavior and comments. It was so bad that the hospital decided to cancel their contract with the supplier. However, the really shocking part is that one year later this same person was looking for a career change and called me to see if we were hiring. Coincidentally, we were not.
8. Don’t forget the little things.
Follow through is perhaps the most important thing in regard to return customers and referrals. How many times have you been too busy to return phone calls or to say thank you? I think a lot of people in sales get so focused on bringing in their next customer that they forget the little things that keep customers happy and offering to be a referral.
I think a couple of good rules to follow are:
- Don't forget to say thank you as often as you can – especially when you close the deal but also as often as possible throughout your relationship.
- Return all of your phone calls within 24 hours.
- Check in on your clients at least once a month. If you have hundreds of clients be sure to at least do it quarterly.