Having just run a workshop for the clubs from a major national sporting organisation on the topic of effectively servicing sponsors, I would like to share with you some tips on effective servicing which can be applied to servicing clients, customers, sponsors and donors.
The importance of effective servicing
The importance is the lifetime $ value that can be generated from a satisfied client or sponsor.
Here is an everyday example to illustrate the point.
If you owned a coffee shop and a new customer walked in, what level of service would you give them?
If you see them simply as another customer buying a $4 coffee and don’t deliver great service, and in doing so give them a reason to go elsewhere, you could miss out on around $2000 from just that one customer over two years (one coffee a day at $4 a coffee, 5 days a week over 50 weeks for two years – yes it does add up!)
Multiply that over a number of customers and you have the difference between a thriving business and going bust.
Translated into the business world
A $1m sponsorship deal in year one with $0.5m spent on leveraging could be a $15m investment in your organisation over 10 years.
An initial $1m software contract that delivers 10 years of ongoing licensing, training and upgrades is going to far exceed the initial investment.
Our mindset and approach should be focused on servicing to the lifetime value potential of the customer not the initial transaction amount
In the examples above, this means servicing as if they will become a $2000 coffee customer not a $4 customer; a $15m sponsor not a $1m sponsor, and a 10 year software client not a one year.
Every time you service for the lower amount you are potentially killing your business or organisation, because if you give people a reason to go elsewhere you then have to spend more money and effort to attract new prospects, and the unprofitable cycle continues.
Ultimately, the level of service you deliver will determine the lifetime value you derive
Where servicing sits in the sales process
Too often people see the process as:
- service (implement)
- re sell
This is not the right way to go about it.
Great servicing is not just about implementing its about continually looking at the business of the client and sponsor to uncover additional needs which you can provide a solution to, in essence, the sales process (from your perspective) never stops.
From their perspective they experience someone who is really trying to understand their needs, provide a solution and in doing so help their business… that’s called great service!
Effective servicing takes place at two levels
People like to do business with organisations that can solve their problems and people they like.
So we have to service at these two levels
Servicing at an organisation level
1. Deliver what you promised
At a bare minimum you have to deliver what you said you would.
2. Understand and show interest in their business
If your client or sponsor for example is a printing company, find out what issues are impacting the printing industry and engage them in a conversation as to how the challenges will impact their business.
3. Help them to achieve their business outcomes
You might deliver great hospitality as part of the sponsorship agreement or great features through your software, however to really service effectively, help them to integrate those features into their normal business activities to drive real benefits and outcomes.
For example, if a sponsor or client has used hospitality entitlements to entertain their prospects, discuss how they are going to follow up on those newly formed relationships to lead their, now warm, prospects through their sales pipeline and provide advice on how best to do so.
4. Show Initiative
Send articles to your client or sponsor relating to their industry or competitors.
5. Move from being a seller to a trusted advisor
Move from being simply a seller of sponsorships or services to being their trusted advisor. You know you have achieved this when they share information with you about what is really going on in their business and seek your thoughts on how to deal with those challenges.
Servicing at a personal level
At a personal level, make the experience of working with you enjoyable; make them feel special by providing unique experiences that they value and relevant to them.
Tools for guaranteeing servicing success
1. A Joint Implementation plan
This sets up the relationship for success, by outlining who is doing what and when to achieve the desired outcomes.
2. Leveraging workshops
This will identify what else both parties can do to drive additional value from the relationship.
3. Joint sponsor or client workshops
Bring clients and sponsors together to explore opportunities to do business with each other.
4. Effective questioning
Use your questioning skills to determine their satisfaction regarding what you are delivering.