Small, Annoying Customers, and a Call From Bryan
Any sales manager or sales trainer will tell you of the need to focus on your top accounts in your top prospects. Salespeople have Top 10 lists, not Most Insignificant lists.
Why? Because size matters. The bigger accounts are the ones generating revenue. They are the ones most vulnerable for takeover by a rival. Therefore, the 80/20 rule applies and these top customers deserve and require a sales rep’s attention.
We complain about the smaller accounts, correctly stating that it takes just as much work to write up that hundred dollar order as it does the ones that hit five figures, if not more. But it always seems to be the smaller accounts that require the most back and forth and have the most potential to go wrong. They are such a pain in the neck. For that reason, they don’t get frequent check in calls. We might send the small customers a Christmas card every year, but that’s about it.
But, consider this …
The phone rings. You are on another line so it goes to voicemail. When the call ends, you give it a listen. It’s a client placing an order for a business card. That’s it. Just business cards. They’ve hired a new salesperson and she needs something to send out and drop off as soon as possible.
Estimated order amount: $80.
You check with production, have a quick look at the customer's file, and return the call. The customer is surprised you got back to them so quickly. You listen and then, because you came to the call prepared, promise to deliver the job in five days. The customer expresses gratitude for the prompt service. The call ends.
Three days later, you drive the order over and hand it to the new sales rep personally, adding, "Being in sales myself, I know the importance of having business cards to hand out. Good luck with your new position!”
Arriving back at the office, you ponder the entire transaction. In truth, you probably lost money on that order. Eighty dollars will never cover the cost, but you cannot put a dollar amount on doing the right thing and who knows, maybe it will lead to …
Your phone rings. You don’t recognize that the number but you pick up anyway, of course.
“Bill, my name is Bryan Maskell. I just got a call from my wife, Kathryn. She told me about the extraordinary service you just showed her small company. That’s the kind of vendor I want doing my work, too. I am the head of marketing for Johnson & Johnson. Would you have time to come see me this week?”
Lucky, huh? Is that a true story? Nope. I made the whole thing up.
Not every account deserves the same amount of attention. However, every order is sacred and, as such, should be given the same level of customer service, not for any reason other than it’s the right thing to do.
Funny how luck finds those who do.
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Bill Farquharson is a sales trainer for the graphic arts. Email him at Bill@AspireFor.com or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault are available at BillFarquharson.com.