Recently, I exposed the considerable "relationship-gap" that apparently exists between customer/client expectation, and what most selling companies believe is necessary to retain them.
That statement sounds terribly arrogant doesn't it? "What most selling companies believe is necessary to retain them"... But isn't that the point?
I think most frontline sales professionals believe that they are providing their existing clients with excellent service - but then they are only usually viewing the relationship one dimensionally from where they are standing.
The brutal reality is that customers and clients are rarely asked. Oh yes, they might be persuaded to occasionally complete an online satisfaction survey, consisting of carefully crafted questions designed by a third-party who has as much knowledge of your industry and sector as they do about the sexual shenanigans of a platypus! And have you noticed that we all celebrate and congratulate ourselves when we see the positive feedback, and yet convince ourselves that anything negative must have come from a terminal whiner?
We are all guilty of taking our customers and clients for granted - some of us regularly, all of us occasionally. We are all culpable when it comes to failing to continually strive to "earn the right" to their business. After all, if they want anything, they will call us, won't they? Maybe once upon a time, when they had less choices and when they were less "educated", but not anymore. Like those platypus, we are only as good as our last performance!
So, when you finally realize that it is now Q3, and the awful truth dawns on you - you are currently underachieving by more than 50% against quota - do not, under any circumstance, take any solace from the fact that so are more than 50% of the global sales population! There is nothing to celebrate in being a member of the "Loser's Club" - unless you enjoy safety in numbers...
What I am suggesting you do, in the next few weeks, may well fly in the face of advice you will receive from your manager, who has possibly been conditioned to believe that harder is smarter... It isn't. So you might want to tell him/her that in the book Emerson's Essays, there is a section on "Law of Compensation." It can be summarized simply as "give more, get more." This is what most salespeople try to do, so they end up working harder when they could be working smarter. This begs the question: Are your sales activities deciding your strategy or is your strategy deciding your sales activities?
My advice is focus , just for a couple of weeks, on all your existing clients. Call them, go visit them. Even better, conduct a formal account review - give them some attention, and let them know that you really want their business this year. You will be amazed at the response. Why? Because it is not something your competitors will be doing - unless they read this post, or have been on one of my training workshops. And just hope that you don't come up against one of my clients, because they will have completed this exercise last week!
The next time you drive out into the countryside, particularly this time of the year, take time to notice the crops in the fields: Notice the hedges around the fields, and how well maintained - or not - they are. I can assure you that the best maintained fields are yielding the best harvests. The work that those farmers put in during the Spring is now paying dividends - it hasn't all happened magically!
The better you maintain your relationships with your best accounts, the higher your yield will be. And maybe, just maybe, you can make it into the "Winners Enclosure" come the end of December.
We always have choices, and this is your choice.
Are you listening? / shutterstock