CEO’s have a tremendous burden in that they must not only perform, they must often outperform. They fail not for the lack of planning, strategy or the lack of a long-term vision, rather because of a simply task, Execution.
Too often we (salespeople and alike) act as though our tasks and daily routines are insignificant. On the contrary, everything you do has a certain degree of separation that touches the bottom line. We fail to realize just how important our job is, regardless of the occupation. In spite of where you are in the corporate structure, treat your sales territory as though you were the CEO… Execute!
In order to execute, you still have to have a plan, but the execution must cover the humdrum details of account management. Many a salesperson has made the mistake of believing they can do these at their leisure. and the customer will be happy! Nothing could be further from the truth. I am a relationship sell kind of person, therefore I believe in cultivating relationships for the long-term. I do not believe in the churn-n-burn mentality. If that’s your nature and it suits your job description, then more power to you. But if your goal is to keep the customer in hopes of selling to them again, there are continuous must-do’s you have to perform.
- Follow-up and make sure your solution did indeed perform–their pain MUST be gone
- Regular contact–this allows you to uncover additional pain or issues as they arise
- Competition Watch–contact allows you to understand their penetration, if any
So what’s your excuse?
Sounds fairly simple, so why is there such a disconnect in execution? TIME Make the time and make the call or visit. I have heard just about every excuse, but the one that stands out is: I don’t have time, I need to concentrate on this quarter’s numbers. This excuse is the biggest reason for not doing anything; the illusions of time dwindle. You actually have more time than you realize and here is how you dispel the myth and reclaim the edge.
In order to make sense of your time this really only works for those that do account management. Divide your customers into three groups, 1,2,3 or A,B,C. Decide on one key element that will divide them. It can be something like: yearly potential selling value, lifetime selling value or whatever makes sense for you.
Start by putting the top 20%-30% customers in the first tier, the next 50%-60% into the middle tier the rest in the last tier. Once that happens, make a contact plan for each of the tiers according to importance. Put this into your electronic calendar as a to-do!
Rule of thumb: 1st tier call monthly, 2nd tier call quarterly, and 3rd tier call every six months. What are we trying to accomplish? Relationships. It’s all about relationships. Still true today, people buy from people! All of your 1st tier customers should be your key account or best prospects. Increase ten-fold, the relationships you now have within those accounts. Failure to win this battle will guarantee you lose the war! This is a priority so treat it as such. Do what is necessary to cultivate the relationships
Your goal is to follow the same procedure for the next tiered accounts, but in a more restrained role. Tier 2 accounts can be thought of as the next Tier 1 accounts so starting early puts you ahead of the curve. The last tier of customers need to be jettisoned or cultivated. As a salesperson, no one likes to say goodbye to a customer, but consuming more resources than their sales potential is capable of replenishing, it is time to cut the strings.
I will leave you with this thought provoking question: Why win additional customers if you cannot keep the ones you have?
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