As a salesperson, keeping in touch with prospects and customers is the key to closing more deals. In each call, you make sure to schedule the next. In every meeting, you always schedule a follow-up.

This is a great approach that is time-tested; seasoned salespeople, account executives, and coaches swear by it.

However, here’s something to think about: Are you wasting the time of your prospects and customers?

In this fast-paced world where everyone is pushing for maximum efficiency, they may be less interested in meeting with you than they were on your very first call. Time is of utmost value now more than ever, and each minute you take from them is a minute taken from growing their business.

So whether you’re looking to acquire a new customer, upsell an existing client, or continue nurturing a lead, your success in sales is reliant on their perception of you.

Are you worth talking to?

Well, you have to make yourself worth the conversation.

You have to make each call count, especially if you’re reaching out cold. Only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment.

The key here is to give and add value in each touch you make toward your customers and prospects.

Yes, value is a term thrown around a lot in business. But what does it really mean? When you’re adding value, you should be giving the client or prospect something they are not expecting. Doing something for them that should be naturally part of the product, your job, or your service is not adding value.

To know what’s valuable to your clients and prospects, you need to research well–get to know them closely. What are their business goals? What are the strengths and weaknesses of their company? By answering these questions, you can start drawing ideas on what you can do to add value to them.

Ways to add and give value to your prospects and clients

Utilize freebies

Beyond free trials, freebies should be part of every company’s sales strategy. This tactic is based on the norm of reciprocity, “where if someone does something for you, you then feel obligated to return the favor.”

According to Very Well, people tend to feel obligated to those who give them favors. “When your new neighbors bring over a plate of cookies to welcome you to the neighborhood, you might feel obligated to return the favor when they ask you to take care of their dog while they are on vacation.”

Freebies are the application of this principle in sales and marketing–a tactic you need to use to give value to your prospects and clients. Here are some ideas:

Items – books, industry research reports, company swag, content

Event passes – industry events, up-training sessions, leisurely events, networking functions

Tools and extensions – upgrades, industry-specific calculators and chart generators, custom developed tools

Added service – dedicated account manager, cross-training, service extras

Connections – influencer relations, client webinar guesting

Provide amazing customer service

At a minimum, you should exceed the service given by your competitors. That said, amazing service is all about going above and beyond the projected maximum expectations of your client or prospect.

Do they expect your support hotline to be available 24/7? Go the extra mile by giving them your personal phone number.

Check on them weekly–even post-purchase. Make a visit once in a while for onsite check ups. Are they still a prospect? Offer a tailored demo.

When you do any of these, prospects and clients will feel prioritized, and you would be giving them something of real value to their business.

Another shining example of going above and beyond is how Rackspace treats their prospects and customers.

Fred Reichheld, the “high priest” of customer success shares,

“One of my favorite examples of this happened at Rackspace, the managed hosting and cloud computing company. An employee on the phone with a customer during a marathon troubleshooting session heard the customer tell someone in the background that they were getting hungry.

As she tells it, “So I put them on hold, and I ordered them a pizza. About 30 minutes later we were still on the phone, and there was a knock on their door. I told them to go answer it because it was pizza! They were so excited.”

Your gestures of excellent service do not have to be expensive or grandiose. Your actions just need to reflect the value and care you place on your prospects and clients.

Help their business grow

At the heart of every amazing B2B product is its ability to amplify the clients’ business growth. As a salesperson, account executive, or customer success professional, you can give value to your prospects and clients by finding opportunities of partnership, be they temporary or sustained.

A big area of potential for this approach is helping clients and prospects with marketing. It doesn’t have to be very involved in that you work with their in-house marketing teams–you just need to offer them boosts.

Here are some examples of marketing boosts:

Tip sheets. Have your marketing department go over their company social media accounts, website, and other channels and spot areas that need improvement. Make sure that your tip sheet is constructive. Offer actionable advice and maybe even provide them direct help if possible.
Example: They don’t have a tool to capture emails on their blog. The next time you’re on a call with your prospect or client, mention that your marketing team has suggestions for their blog. While on the call, send them an email with a screencast of the page in question along with a brief explanation of the importance of opt-ins, and a list of suggested tools.

Marketing mentions. An easy way to boost your client’s marketing efforts is by mentioning them in your blog, company social media accounts, and third-party published articles. If possible, include a link to their website.

Referrals. Companies put a lot of effort into existing customer engagement to drive additional revenue through referrals. As a vendor or potential vendor, a way to give value is to drive referrals to your clients. If it fits, it’s not a bad idea to refer other existing customers to each other. This way, you are perceived as a business partner and not just a vendor.

These are just some ideas you can fit into your sales process. Choosing the right approach requires creativity–and of course, the drive to outwit your competition in terms of knowing what delights your prospects and customers.