Let’s look at an example to see what I am talking about in my example.
A company that does our work has an interaction with a customer. They don’t ever sell anything, but over time they do. Once that customer makes the purchase and pays for the item they are responsible for everything including a referral fee.
The conversation is:
Customer: I really meant to buy it by tomorrow. My husband and I are holding a big family gathering tomorrow. We will have plenty to eat, but I need to buy this today.
Salesperson: I understand. I can send you a confirmation if you wish.
Customer: We don’t have a problem with just buying it today do we? We never have.
Salesperson: Well, do you happen to have a coupon?
Salesperson: I can email the coupon link to you now.
Customer: No sure, no thanks.
Salesperson: I can give you your Christmas Present Card just along with a Christmas hamper.
Customer: No thanks.
This conversation went on for several minutes until she finally came up to me and said, “I’m sorry, but are you not sorry I gave you my Christmas hamper? Do you know how I sent it to him? It was absolutely perfect!”
She’s right, they did not need to do business with them.
Not only did this customer market themselves by unfinished purchases they could have made up to that point, but they also did this little bit of marketing that could have netted them more business. Plus, they made the assumption they did have the business until they got away from them. I didn’t ask what the customer did with it yet, because technically, I would have also just been making her feel bad for making her assume they had business until the door was left open for them to do their business.
Now, imagine, they thought they were doing great, just got short-changed, or their competitor was screwing them over, and they forget the true, great customer service you give when you win the customer over. That’s a salesperson working to not lose the business they already have.
Let’s turn this around:
A company lost a long-time customer to a competitor. The competitor was out of stock, the customer just opened their door to where the competitor was, the competitor did not have the salesperson on the sales team. They ended up selling this customer to a competitor, who has full knowledge of their needs.
Period, my role is to help this business have a plan to make up for this lost customer, who is no longer a client. They end up having a customer service representative who was not the one selling them the product. Instead of turning into a salesperson, they lost the business.
With the customers, let’s forget the chicken before the egg comment.
Use this scenario to help you brainstorm how to turn your approach. For example, if you contact a customer that has opened a door to a competitor that you do not now have a partner with. This is called aistries:
delighted partner in wining, dining, and more.
Copyright (c) 2008 program wise target
For information on this kind of relationship, I highly recommend that you talk to someone from our program team beforehand, and set in writing the battle plan for winning this customer over if they have a problem with making a change or with the vendor you are working with.
You will find that when you know your customer and they know you, you already have a solid business relationship. Where a real relationship will get a little rocky, at the worst, if your partner has a good relationship, but have a problem with someone in your firm, that you have a clear path of where you should take your partner if a stay-with-us, but I am working with the competitor.
Use this formula as your basis to protect your backbone.