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?
Bill Farquharson is a partner at Idealliance. As a print-specific sales trainer, Farquharson applies a fundamentally-sound approach to his coaching, online programs (found at sales.epicomm.org), and live presentations. Contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org or (781) 934-7036 to discuss your sales challenges.