In last week’s Short Attention Span video from Bill Farquharson, we found what seemed to be the printing industry’s take on How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. In an age where most companies are expanding to include many forms of printing and marketing, sales reps are forgetting to remind their customers why they should keep business with them. “Many of our customers don’t understand our business,” said Tom Moe, Daily Printing’s VP of Sales and Marketing, “We need to remind them of our services and how we can work for them.”
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Farquharson gives us three simple tips to lose a customer:
1. Take them for granted. Every sales rep can become lazy – it’s easy to do! You’ve held business with a company for a long time, you know you have a good relationship with them, they seem appreciative of your work, and so on. What you may not realize is that while you are sure they are happy with your service, another business could be courting them with ways to fill the gaps.
Just recently, a Daily sales rep was asked to present for a totally new customer that had been doing business with the same printer for 20 years. Why would they decide to change vendors? Their sales rep rarely visited, didn’t have new ideas, didn’t ask new questions, etc. It’s an easy trap to fall into – especially if you’ve had a client for a long time – but as a sales rep, you should constantly be aware of how important the decision your client is making to choose YOU.
2. Assume they know everything that you do. Are you letting your customer know all the services you offer? Or, even if you are, are you making sure they know. Though your relationship with your client may be a high priority to you as a sales rep, their relationship with you as a vendor is just not as crucial to their everyday. It is incredibly feasible that you could be telling your customer over and over again – “Hey, we offer web-to-print services!” – but they just don’t remember until it becomes a priority that someone else has offered.
Create almost a constant cycle of service reminders. “Oh, do you remember that we do this? Just wanting to make sure you knew…” So when a customer actually does need that new service in their approach, you are the first name to come to mind.
3. Focus only on where they are, not where they are going. The most important thing you can do in a conversation with a customer is ask questions. You may offer all the services in the world, but if the services don’t fit their plan, what difference does it make?
What is the client’s plan for next year? “Well, here are the services we provide so we can get on track and in front of your goal.” Don’t just show up a couple times a year with a box of doughnuts. Get active, get involved and become an effective means for your customer to achieve their ends.