Today’s post is by Danny Wong who is a marketing consultant, sales strategist and writer. He leads marketing at Tenfold, a seamless click-to-dial solution for high-performance sales teams. Connect with him on Twitter @dannywong1190.
In sales, it’s easy to forget about certain accounts that haven’t been very responsive or active lately. However, there are plenty of opportunities to increase your revenue simply by re-engaging these older contacts.
Here are five steps to help you maintain, grow, and sell to these static accounts.
1. Decide on the Relationship
Before you do anything, you need to figure out the current status of your relationship with an account and what your ideal relationship with that client would be.
Is this an account you think about on Monday, spend an hour on, and then move to other matters? Or do you really only need to talk to the client when there’s a fire because time is so limited? Or is this a larger account you spend a full day on, but their needs simply haven’t changed in recent years?
Once you put it into words what you do and how you feel about them, you’ll want to decide on how you hope the relationship can evolve. Naturally, it is easy to wish every account could grow exponentially, but you’ll also need to be realistic. Perhaps you want to schedule a bi-weekly call with them to bolster communication, or maybe you just want the conversation to be more fluid when you speak to them (either online or in-person). Once you know what you want, you can start subtly escalating the relationship with the account to bring about that reality.
2. Devote the Time
The same way your personal relationships take time to change, so do your business relationships. When account people are satisfied, you don’t want to pressure them. At the same time, though, you want them to adapt to what might be on the horizon and strengthen their (and your) company. If you know that the contact you have on the account always seems to get uncomfortable when you start mentioning additional products and services, try sharing information from your other accounts that showcases your talent for understanding each customer’s specific needs along with your personalized solutions.
You also want to go the extra mile when you can. If you know a client has time to chat in the late evenings, you may need to adjust your schedule to ensure you catch them when it’s convenient for them. According to Forrester Research, two out of every three B2B marketers say their biggest sales challenge is getting a decision maker on the phone. So, being flexible allows you to capitalize on opportunities to connect when your sales targets are more available.
3. Present Proof of Value
Hopefully, you already have the numbers for presenting just how valuable your company really is for your clients. For example, if you facilitate product shipment, you can point out your delivery accuracy rates and your client satisfaction scores. If you can spin this in such a way that the client sees how much value they may receive by trusting you, it can help them feel more confident when making a positive purchasing decision.
4. Narrow Down Opportunities
The person you work with on a static account is used to a routine with you as well, but that doesn’t mean they’re unwilling to mix things up. To do so, though, you’re going to need to get specific if you want to upgrade them to a new service. For example, if they’re seeing customer satisfaction dip in a certain area, you can let them know just how easy it would be to increase their ratings using one or more of your company’s services. The key here is to remember this account is used to business as usual, so it will not be easy to convince them that shaking things up is the best way to go. Change often results in unforeseen logistical errors, so you need to address those fears and put them in context.
5. Do Not Ignore the Facts
When you make a mistake or see that a client is paying too much for minimal returns, ensure you’re not glossing over it. If they’re not benefiting from a service, schedule a conversation about how you can fix this. Every company and salesperson is prone to see what is happening now as opposed to looking toward the long-term effects of their actions. However, even if the client doesn’t recognize they’re losing money now, they’ll likely see it later on down the line.