That your customers have the option to switch to a competitor is almost inevitable. However, when a loyal and highly valued customer shows signs of moving to a competitor steps need to be taken to either prevent this, or at least decrease the timing of such an event.
This involves the same skills as those used in the defence of a medieval castle – shoring up defences, anticipating attacks, freeing up resources and increasing (customer) intelligence and morale.
The first person to notice that all is not well in a previously strong and stable friendship is often the person that deals with the account. Obviously a highly valued customer means one that is profitable to the company in sales revenue, as well as the salesperson in terms of commission.
Moreover, to effectively deal with the scenario the salesperson has to be highly motivated and attuned to the company’s customer base. For example, buying signals, frequency of orders, client history, body language, phone manner and attitude in face to face meetings.
When the salesperson realises that all is not well, alarm bells should be ringing. The fact that the account is under serious competitive threat should be passed on to senior management.
The company can then enforce enhanced customer linkages, based on superior service, to set up a stronger position. The competitor will have to perform to the highest level to match your service. Hopefully they will find it hard to keep the business they have won from you.
However long the scenario lasts the company and the sales team must strive to keep morale high. In selling, as in battle, the important thing is not to surrender. While lesser salespeople may throw in the towel at the first sign of adversity, stronger ones tough it out.
If the steps outlined are taken and calm, logical action applied the pain of a valued customer moving to a close rival should be lessened.
In the words of Barry White: “Hang on in there baby”
Published By AB Print