Many times when a new client reaches out or “sends up the bat-signal” it comes after one or more significant sales losses – especially if the loss is an existing account and it came as a shock.
This has happened to me when I was an account executive and I see this often when I first start working with successful, established businesses.
When we work with a client over an extended period of time, we get comfortable with them. There’s rhythm and structure to the processes, trust and confidence is easy, and there’s comfort in a dependable working relationship.
Order sent, order received, order delivered, repeat.
We appreciate existing customers. We deliver holiday gifts, drop off tickets, trade emails, and follow up on billing issues … but comfort often turns into complacency.
We forget that someone else is always trying to earn our customer’s business.
Our competitors are always vying for a place on the team.
Someone is always trying to come off the bench and play your position.
There is always someone trying to eat your lunch.
I gave my daughter this advice after she worked really hard to make her school volleyball team: “Every practice is a tryout, every game is a tryout. Never slack or get comfortable with your position because someone else wants to be in the game just as badly as you do. You’ve got to show your coach you want it more.”
That’s the same advice I give to sellers. Both those working hard to earn new business and those working with existing customers.
99% of new business development is taking business away from an embedded or incumbent vendor.
Meaning, yes, of course, there is always someone calling on your customers trying to take them away from you.
If you’re not diligently working to advance the relationships, consult, and deliver additional value to your customers, you’re leaving the door open for your competition.
Considering developing a plan to do more than “keep” existing customers.
Build a Customer Success Plan by asking …
- Who is on your Customer Success Team?
- How are you contributing to your customer’s success?
- Are you consistently reviewing your performance, your processes, and your results?
- Do you know all the team members, influencers, and everyone impacted by your product, services, or systems?
- Does your client know all YOUR team members?
- How do you measure or track your customer relationships?
- What are the next steps in your customer’s journey?
We put Business Development activities under a microscope and focus on them in our skills builders and selling insights. So why would we get careless and complacent when we have finally earned business, and leave the door open for someone else to walk in, start the conversation, and shut the door on our client relationships?
If you’ve ever been surprised when you lose a client, the fallout is even worse. If you’re banking on revenue, you probably don’t have enough sufficient pipeline opportunities to make up for the loss and it’s a downward spiral.
Don’t get comfortable or complacent – think past the initial win to the long-term possibilities with a customer.
Until next time, stop hoping and start SELLING!
PS – Don’t know where to start? Send up the Bat-Signal – before you lose key accounts – and we’ll develop your Customer Journey hand in hand with your Go-To-Market-Strategies.