Don’t you love the feeling of adding a new client? In the software industry, the idea of a business or individual putting your product to work can be invigorating.
How can you ensure that you’re a shoo-in to seal the deal? What will help potential clients see the value you bring to the marketplace? How do you establish the kind of relationships that make a satisfied customer-for-life?
At ZulaFly, we’re always striving and learning for the most effective ways to procure a new client. During this process, we’ve been able to develop six basic principles that guide us in our seemingly never-ending new-client quest.
If you are in the software industry, YOU are an expert on the software you build or promote. What does this have to do with being responsive? Consider this: Potential clients don’t want to feel like they’re supposed to understand the inner workings of your solution. They just want to be more efficient in the work they do. Being slow to respond, or not responding at all to the questions of a potential client will make them feel like you won’t care enough when they’re depending on your expertise to help them through untimely–but inevitable–technology glitches or misunderstandings of how your software works.
More educating. Less selling.
Help educate potential clients instead of trying to sell them. They are much more likely to reach back out with questions, thus building a trusting relationship with a vendor that has their best interest at heart. Another effective strategy is to add them to a company newsletter. This allows the client to learn about the company and solution on their own time, and at their pace.
Offer to help, without overstepping with constant communication.
There can be a fine line between “staying in touch” with a possible client compared to overstepping communication boundaries. There are two boundaries we draw within this principle. First of all, while you want a potential client to understand you care about them or their business, they are just as busy and their time is just as precious as yours. Be careful not to break their time boundary by expecting immediate message responses, answers to every phone call, or by sending them excessive emails. Secondly, it’s critical to understand the company structure of each client you serve. Who’s in charge? What does their workplace value? How are roles split amongst team members? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you stay within the structural boundary of the business and ensure your communication is smooth and efficient.
Offer to have them talk with existing customers.
One of the most powerful ways to clinch a client is to provide testimonials… but we’re not just talking about throwing a quote in a brochure. Giving a potential client the opportunity to ask questions of your current clients about the solution at hand, the industry in general, or trends can help make the potential client feel more secure about your standing in the marketplace.
Ask and learn about other initiatives outside of the solution you may offer.
As vendors grow their network, you may come across another solution that a potential customer is looking for. This provides the perfect window where you can pass along that information, placing your brand in position to be seen as helpful and working with the customer’s best interest in mind.
Treasure the vendor/customer relationship.
True partnerships grow into lasting and trusting relationships. It can’t just be about the sale, so handle the recruitment process with care. The client is more likely to care about what you know, when they know you care about them. Healthy vendor/customer relationships are critical to the ongoing success of the business, so don’t push! None of us like to be pressured into being sold. Provide the information, answer questions, and let the potential customer make the decision that is right for them.
The recruitment process of a new client can be energizing, draining, exciting, and stressful all at the same time. It’s important to enter each potential-client adventure equipped with tools that help you best represent the product you provide and the service that accompanies it.