Monday, November 27, 2017

Post-Thanksgiving Promises - "The diet starts tomorrow"

Another Thanksgiving under the belt (literally).  Three days of fats, carbohydrates, and more carbs (pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and candied sweet potatoes).  Not only am I stuffed, some of those complex carbohydrates circulate up into my brain.  Those funny little neurons that talk to you silently as you're web surfing after the feast:  "Maybe you should start watching what you eat," "Why can't you stick to a three-day a week workout program?" "You should start being more strategic and invest more in the customers you have! There it was.  The last one.  The one about value.  Yes, I do need to eat better and exercise more, but it's that thing about creating value for my customers that is the real Thanksgiving lesson.

Like many salespeople that are successful, they have a handful of really big customers that buy over and over again.  These are meat-providers for your family.  The problem is that every one of your competitors wants those customers and lately you've taken them for granted.  We all know that getting a new customer is way more difficult than keeping an existing customer.  As we think back at the turkey and cranberry sauce, let's review a few things to remind us of how to be thankful and keep our best customers by providing value:

  1. When was the last time you met, face-to-face, with your customer and told them how much you appreciate their business, that it means something personally to you, and you're not here to ask for anything else?  Sometimes, we think we are doing this, but in today's tweet-sized communications, we must go out of our way to make a special visit just for this purpose.
  2. Besides trying to make another sale, when was the last time you simply provided something of value to your customer?  Don't think about the value of your product or service.  Think about things that your customer values.  When have you helped them with a business problem that has nothing to do with what you sell?  When did you provide industry information that has the potential to help your customer?  When did you refer an employee or offered to help with their charity?  Having trouble thinking of something - ask your customer:  "Bob, I love the business partnership we have together.  Let's keep doing that!  Besides our products/services I'd like to provide more value to you.  What are some of the things you're working on in your business that I might be able to help you with?"
  3. Think about lowering your price or providing them with more of what you sell/do for the same price.  We all know markets are dynamic.  There's always a demand for the latest products/services that will help your customers be more competitive, give them a stronger image, help them become more effective/efficient/productive.  If you don't figure out a way to continue to give them more for the same cost, or lower your costs for the same thing you've always done - some other competitor will.  There's likely a few competitors already thinking and planning this right now.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Happy Selling.