In the spring of 1967, shortly before I graduated from high school, Dad acquired the Biscayne. If that doesn’t ring a bell with you, you’re probably just too young. The Biscayne was the low-end model of the Chevrolet nameplate. This one was a 1963, stripped down, 3-speed on the column model in baby-poop brown.
I had never driven a stick-shift before, so Dad decided it was time for another series of driving lessons. After several outings with him, he said I needed to pass a final exam to prove I had mastered the clutch. He told me to head for a STOP sign on an incline at a nearby railroad crossing for the test. I was nervous enough sitting there revving the motor, rocking back and forth, trying to hold the car steady with only the clutch pedal; but when I looked up and saw that red pickup pulling up behind me, I almost wet my pants.
Of course, he just had to pull up close to the rear of the ‘Cayne; and then it happened. I accidentally popped the clutch and killed the engine, and the car rolled backwards and bumped into the truck’s front end.
But for the grace of big chrome bumpers, I would have had my first insurance claim. Fortunately, after sheepishly groveling and apologizing, neither of us could find a scratch on his truck. As if he had been there before, he looked at me and just smiled.
I quickly cranked the car again and shot over the tracks, as my dad began to recite his responsibility speech and carp about me not yet being ready to go solo in that vehicle.
Your client base is another place to avoid missteps, as you work to ensure your best accounts continue to be happy with your performance and continue buying from you. To avoid blunders similar to mine behind the wheel, here are a few suggestions to peruse and evaluate:
1. Cash in on the potential that big customers provide by making sure they are aware of every product and service offered on your company’s menu. It’s entirely possible your customer doesn’t realize your firm sells something they currently buy elsewhere or are contemplating buying.
2. Be careful not to bet the farm on customer relationships alone, but rather ensure you are competent in providing value and results for your customer. Strive to go beyond the entry-level role of vendor, eventually become a trusted advisor to your customer and their enterprise.
3. Don’t be impatient. In your personal life, Honey didn’t want to marry you after one date, so likewise you must romance your clients for a period of time, as well. Think back to things you did that wowed Honey and duplicate those with your clients (minus the romance).
4. Make sure to keep the main thing the main thing as you evaluate the ongoing needs of your customers. Keep their objectives on your radar screen and always under-promise and over-deliver as you serve them. Remember “there are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”
5. Learn enough about your clients business to make it easier for them to sell to their customers. This strategy alone will help eventually elevate you up the great pyramid of provider relationships.
6. Continually inform and educate your customers about everything in your company’s pipeline, in order to preclude any and all surprises down the road.
Regardless whether it’s new products, upgrades, or even price changes; these heads up’s can help you attain hero status with your customers.
Below are descriptions of the 8 chapters of my book, Sell is NOT a Four Letter Word. It is 274 pages long and covers 116 specific coaching topics. It is $16 and I ship it FREE. Got it? Get it here!
- Enthusing – Attaining and maintaining the upbeat outlook and point of view required to survive the rough terrain of the selling profession.
- Essentializing – Applying the basic principles you need to be familiar with and apply, to ensure you stand out on the selling landscape.
- Engaging – Sorting out suspects and prospects to determine who to approach, and then developing an agenda to initiate a sales conversation.
- Exploring – Uncovering, by probing & questioning, the pain, needs, & desires of prospects & buyers.
- Elaborating – Providing information about your product or service as the antidote to the pain you discovered during the exploring process.
- Encountering – Determining and resolving concerns that always surface during sales conversations.
- Executing – Reaching agreement on logical next steps in order to close sales and gain new customers.
- Expanding – Ongoing collateral activities to help grow your business & ensure long term sales success.
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