I Stole Your Customer. Thanks!

Hi there! We haven’t met, but I just wanted to say a quick thanks for giving me the chance to steal your account. You know the one: that large client that you have had for years; the one that’s been financing your extravagant lifestyle. Yeah, that one. It’s mine now. Neener-neener.

As you read this, you’ve probably just left your sales manager’s office where you called me every name in the book. I’d bet you told him I swooped in with my low prices and undercut you. Not true. I’d imagine you added the Oscar-worthy line, “There was nothing I could have done!” Wrong again, Skippy. Finally, you’ve blamed Obama or the economy or Rick Perry’s bad memory for the loss.

In truth, the villain is a guy you know well. You see him every morning in the mirror. Yeah, that’s right. You are responsible for losing this account. You blew it, and I feel badly for you. Wait. I’m over it!

Similar to what it took to get the account, losing the account didn’t happen overnight. It started one day when you hit cruise control and said to yourself, “These people love me!” That thought sends out a signal to guys like me. Oh, how I love complacency in a print sales rep.

What happens next is that you stop doing the things that got you the customer in the first place:

  • You stop bringing them new ideas.
  • You stop thanking them for the patronage.
  • You start taking them for granted.
  • You start assuming that they are yours to lose and that you are bullet proof.

That’s what a guy name Achilles thought just before he went over a wall and took a shot in the heel. His weakness was the same as yours—an assumption of invincibility. How’d that work out for him?

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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  • notmean

    Ouch! That guy is a meanie!!

  • jane

    We’re awakening.
    Thanks for the great Sales Training program.
    Our conference calls and Coaching has really improved my skills.
    much appreciated.

  • GreenEagleMedia

    Great Article!

  • Dick Rossman

    One of your best, Bill. Keep up the good work.

  • Thomas Adams

    Gee Bill, for a guy who snagged a prize like that perhaps a little humility might come in handy. My customers understand that REAL people are humble, willing to admit to their mistakes, and know when they’ve screwed up royally. Though many of them like you FOR NOW, and feel like their decision was the correct one: most of them can’t wait for you to FU. They realize the nights I was at their press runs all-night, spent x-mas eve in the plant going over their color corrections, went to bat for them when the company thought they messed up when they hadn’t, scoured their bills for overcharges, and met them for dinner with my wife every Derby Day and spent time together in Louisville.

    In fact my good buddy, it’s competitors like you whom I’ve built my comfortable life around. Shooting Stars, Fly-By-Nights, trendy experts who haven’t the first clue about CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS. Customers want friends (who they can beat in golf), guys who care aBOUT THEIR KIDS AND THEIR KIDS KIDS. They could care less about your Fake attentiveness; they want REAL. Most of them can spot it within one year, which is why my numbers should look good next year The real beauty to this however, is that once they try you out and figure out their failure… they’re MINE for LIFE. And you will have a man-size reputation to overcome. Ain’t life Grand?.