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In the last year I have had three occasions where I have made significant purchases for services and all three had very compelling offers. Unfortunately all three have not delivered on all their promises. They have delivered the core of their offer but some of the extras have either been forgotten or have not lived up to expectations.
A regular stream of new clients are important for any business, but how do you make sure that you are maximising the potential of existing clients? How do you decide which clients to develop and how do you go about building accounts?
Andrew Horder is an expert in account management and key account development and in this recording he provides insights on how to get account management right.
It is said that a wise person builds their house upon the rocks rather than sand. Putting this ancient wisdom into action with sales teams regularly helps sales managers of average sales teams increase results by up to 30% within 6 months without the need for ANY additional training in technique.
One of the things that amazes me about small and medium sized businesses is how they struggle with lead generation from existing clients. This should be one of the easiest sales to make. There are three main reasons for this:
1. Waiting for the phone to ring
The person managing the account assumes that the client will call if they need something. They are normally too busy looking for new clients and fail to stay in regular contact.
When a business is brand new then there is an obvious need to win new clients. As the business becomes more established then the sales focus should change to be a combination of finding new clients and selling more to existing clients. The easiest sale to make is to existing clients and yet this is an area that small businesses often neglect.
Fast growth in sales can often be achieved by following some simple steps with your client accounts. Following these steps will transform your account management into a source of rapid sales growth.
Building accounts take time and focused effort. When you have a number of accounts, it may not be possible to pay the same amount of attention to each of them. Not all accounts will be worth the effort. By prioritising our accounts we can ensure that we maximise the sales we generate from the time and effort we invest in account development.
When we are working on our accounts day-in, day-out it is sometimes hard to see the wood from the trees. Taking time out to review important accounts on a periodic basis will help to protect what we have already achieved and maximise the growth potential.
During the account planning sessions you will have identified potential opportunities but this should actually be an ongoing activity with all priority accounts – even those not big enough to justify formal account planning sessions.
A proposition generates the interest in having a sales conversation about a specific problem. In pro-active account development we are taking the initiative to get our clients to talk through their problems with us. There will usually be three stages:
It is easy to assume that everything is going swimmingly with a client. You are delivering what you promised. The client is paying your bills. You are talking to the client most days, surely an account review is just a waste of time?
With relationship based selling, the clue is in the title! To be successful with this type of selling you need to be developing and extending relationships. The activity is similar to networking except you are building a network within the client account. Seek to keep updated with what is going on and also expand your contacts. Getting an internal introduction from your existing contacts is a great way to do that. Ask your contact who you should be speaking to and then ask them to send an email introduction.