The Biggest Mistake Manufacturing Sales Managers Make

Why Connecting with Past Customers to Grow Manufacturing Sales Works


Persistence, heart, effort pay off for Cleveland Indians in 2017

The key to manufacturing sales success that you’re probably missing is connecting with past customers. People, by nature are drawn to familiarity. It is much easier to sell to someone you have a previous relationship with than sell to a new prospect. You know that feeling when you run into an old friend at a restaurant? You went to high school, perhaps served in the same military unit or simply lived in the same neighborhood. We love to share past experiences and we all know what it’s like when you hear “You just had to be there!” When it comes to manufacturing sales, being familiar wins.

Customers relationships should be viewed the same way. You provide a reliable, memorable experience. Perhaps you spent weeks or months working on the sale, maybe another 6 months delivering your products and services. We also know that each experience with your customers, let’s call them ‘touch points,’ only further cements the relationship.

Past customers, like old friends, want to hear from you. Simply reaching out to tell them about your recent projects, sharing an article they might enjoy or announcing a new initiative (as we just did, click here), brings people back to the table.

Wait, you mean those folks who trusted you, gave you money willingly and occasionally return with more money in their hand? Create memories and build on familiarity. “You remember that time, Mr. Customer, when we went to the Indians’ game and they broke the record for the most consecutive wins in the American League?” How can you keep the same feeling alive with your customers?

When we announced our international marketing collaboration with Adexma, we received countless ‘congratulations, nice to hear it, way to go’ messages even from past customers who have not purchased in months or years. We, Felber PR & Marketing, are the familiar. We were established in 1993, so we have many past friends, shared experiences, and stories. Oh, do we have stories. Sharing our knowledge with our network, whether in an email, via social media, or even as a speaker for a colleague’s association, creates more ‘familiar’ touch points. Add up the points and you’re winning the relationship game.

So, then, why are we so fixated on always attracting shiny new prospects? Well, we all need new customers and they really do keep us on our toes. New customers help our companies grow and further develop our offering. Are you starting to see where I am headed? You have invested so much in the new customer relationship. And, just when they trust you and are comfortable with your service, billing and culture, you close the door. You can almost hear your mother now, “you don’t call, you don’t write, you don’t even like the photo of your father in his plaid golf shirt I posted to that book site…”

Keeping in touch with your network is simple in the digital age and one simple touch can make a huge impact.

Sending regular emails, a hand written now, commenting on their LinkedIn post, sending a “customer exclusive offer” are all examples of keeping in touch. Be the familiar, not the lost friend. Use the resources you have in social media and email communications to keep your family close. Keep the pressure on, now and throughout the season and you too can string manufacturing sales, win after win for your firm.

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