You Don’t Close a Deal, You Open a Relationship

If you want to do business, you can’t just focus on closing new deals and getting new logos. Most of many companies’ recurring income comes from customer retention, not recruits. That means your success from day one depends on building good relationships with new customers.

For subscription-based businesses, the higher you go, the more your earnings will go towards recurring revenue from your installed base if you do it right.

The figure below shows that most revenue comes from current customers, while new business revenue is the icing on the cake.

The beginning of a customer relationship determines the outcome

As you know, sellers are good at building relationships with buyers. Trusts are an important part of the buyer’s decision, and the messages buyers receive during the sales journey influence the start of the customer journey.

Aftermarket teams waste valuable time understanding what is sold and the customer’s goals. Customer teams are often unprepared, resilient, and even unaware. New customers are frustrated when they have to tell everyone the same details about their goals. As a result, deadlines are missed, internal teams are overwhelmed and upset, and customers break or even cancel their licenses before putting the product into service.

These costs add up to thousands (or even millions) of dollars a year, including labor costs for late implementations, outages, and cancellations, and missed opportunities when sales teams are encouraged to troubleshoot transactions that have already been closed. Margins on new logos can quickly run out.

How can you renew new customers instead of canceling them?

Follow these three steps to prepare you, your teams, and your customers for success on the path to fast, reliable customer relationships.

1. Ensure continuity

Repeating the same thing over and over to several people is no way to start a new relationship. Customers tell me how frustrating it is to relay the same information to the pre-sales team, on-board team, success team, and support or customer service team.

Instead, provide continuity. Continuity helps people build trust and start with what’s to come.

2. Connect with people

While it may seem trivial, small talk is a valuable tool for building customer relationships. So take a few minutes to meet new customers for the first time and connect with the right people who are buying and using your product. Ask about their families, upcoming vacations, and weekend plans.

I prepare for meetings by exploring connections or shared interests on LinkedIn: where people live, where they study, and what activities they enjoy. That’s why I use this information to start the conversation.

Successful customer engagement can be simple.

3. Show the way to success

If you send long lists of complicated tasks and requirements to new customers, they won’t be able to process the information. They go into cognitive overload. As the human brain processes images faster than text, you gain more confidence when communicating with images.

Share photos of the journey you and your customer take together. Help people understand where they are, where they’ve been, and where they’re going in their work with you. Your brain will be grateful and relaxed.

Today’s business is no longer getting new logos and is ringing the sales bell. Instead, it’s about retaining and growing the customers you have.

When you build successful long-term customer relationships, you don’t just close sales. You start important relationships.