Okay… You finally secured the new account you’ve been after for months, and now you’re back in the office sharing “high fives” with your manager and your sales support team. It’s a good day.
But a funny thing happens over the next quarter. The account stops bringing in the numbers they started with. You ask customer service if they know what’s going on and get a shoulder shrug as a response. You take the initiative to visit the client (something you realize is long overdue) and find out: Your shipments to them have been arriving late or are on back-order.
· There was a quality problem. The client sent a sample of the defect back, but they’re still waiting for a response.
· They started doing business with you, but they haven’t seen you since.
· They had a call from their primary customer service contact, but that person has “gone missing” too.
· You realize they have a competitor’s product on trial, and know for a fact your price is better than theirs.
You leave the account’s office and sit in your car trying to understand what happened, but the truth is, you already know.
· You took the account for granted.
· You fell into the trap of thinking that the products and/or services they bought would meet their expectations without ever checking in with them to make sure.
· You were busy courting other new accounts and assumed customer service was doing their job.
· You forgot that your competition was waiting for you to drop the ball.
· You dropped the ball.
When we secure someone’s business, we look them square in the eye and shake their hands. But we all live and work in a world that’s gone digital, so it’s easy to forget the value of maintaining contact with the people we are already doing business with. It’s also easy to forget that a significant amount of business is lost due to poor recommendations of after the sale service.
It’s a competitive world. If you want to build a sustainable business or selling career, you need to do the following:
· Don’t make promises you aren’t going to keep after you secure the account.
· Remember that it’s always better to over-serve a little than it is to lose a lot.
· Treat every customer like you are asking for a referral after every order.
The winners in business are people who master SUSTAINABLE SELLING PRACTICES. They build long-term relationship with their customers—and enjoy the profits that go along with this approach to doing business.
Alan Luoma is a Sales Coach and Speaker with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, and sales and product training. He holds key accounts with a national sustainable packaging company, is a motivational speaker, and provides sales training to individuals and groups. He is a member of the Hartford Springfield Speakers Network. You can view his profile on LinkedIn, or contact him at Luoma@snet.net