If they’re already customers, stop selling and start engaging!

There is a magical moment when a person who is attracted to your brand goes from being a prospect to being a new customer. It’s a moment to be heralded for them and for your brand, because it marks what could be the beginning of a beautiful, long-lasting relationship. However, communication is key.

Prospects and customers are different — treat them that way

Your customers are your brand’s best asset. But if you are still speaking to them as your prospects to be mined, they won’t feel their value. Once they cross the threshold from prospect to new customer, their introduction to your brand – as a customer – is vital. That’s why upselling and cross-selling initiatives are so important to growth. But more vital still is their customer onboarding experience. This is where things get tricky. All too often in big organizations, business silos and performance goals start to obscure the fact that your customers are much more than just a target for increased business. Especially when they are new members of your brand’s family.

Make them feel special

The thing to remember is, they’ve already chosen you. So speak to them like you know that. Give your new customers care and attention. When we make them feel special for joining our brand community, then what we’re really doing is investing in a long-term relationship. One that has the potential to grow and thrive. Doing this can also significantly reduce call center volume, which tends to be linked to negative brand experiences. On the flip side, not doing so creates a disconnect between the relationship your customers thought they would have with your brand, and the one they’re actually having. And that’s a problem because it means the relationship is off to a bad start before its even had the chance to flourish.

Valued customers welcome upselling

However, by making your new customers feel special, you can not only dramatically increase customer satisfaction early on, but you’re now priming the pump for a more engaged customer – one who looks forward to your brand messaging and wants to interact with it. Further, when customers are engaged, they are much more receptive to upselling – especially if it is well timed, well sequenced and clearly relevant to their preferences, to their needs and to where they are in the relationship with your brand.

The proof is in the data

According to surveys by PWC, SalesForce, American Express, Adobe and Forrester, customers will walk away from brands offering a lesser experience. But on the flip side, they’re more likely to stick with — and spend more with — brands that make them feel appreciated and invest in customer experience.

In fact, a study by Forrester shows that customer-experience focused businesses see 2x more customer retention, repeat purchase rates and customer lifetime value than other businesses do year over year.

So, in the end, if handled carefully, engagement and upsell are not at odds. Care and attention to engaging your customers will lead to bountiful upsell opportunities naturally. But skipping engagement and going straight to upsell will risk not only losing the sale, but the relationship as well.