What to Look for to Avoid Losing Customers
You may have heard hindsight is 20/20. In sales you don’t have the luxury of hindsight. Most probably when you look back on your sales history it’s to wonder how you lost a piece of business. Having sales vision helps you avoid losing customers instead of looking back. Here’s what you should look for with your sales vision.
Use sales vision to look for opportunities for competition at your customers.
Are you selling every product you could be selling to each customer? Competitors selling products that you could sell to your customers make you vulnerable. Your business is at risk if a competitor’s product performs better than yours. A hard working competitor could build trust and then start to take even more business from you. Instead, a salesperson with sales vision learns all the products his customer buys and makes sure the customer is buying all the products he can from him.
Look at what your customer is evaluating is sales vision.
The one thing certain about sales is that it’s a constantly changing environment. Even if you are selling every product you could to a customer, he might want to know if he’s getting the best performance and value from what he’s buying. That’s when customers start evaluating your competitors’ products. Would you even know if your customer were evaluating other products? That’s why you want to know several of your product users so you can periodically check with them. You will get advance warning of any competitive threats when the people who use your products also like you.
Look at how your customers use your products and what they think.
Know how your customers use your products. I’ve seen new products applied incorrectly so that they didn’t perform at the level they should have. I’ve seen customers not aware of product features they could have used for their benefit. Your customer might become dissatisfied even if he’s the one that is not following correct instructions. It’s your job to know your customers are using your products correctly so they don’t become dissatisfied.
Look at what’s going on beneath the surface at your customers.
Pay attention to the “small talk” you have with your customers. What you hear about people has a role in sales vision. That’s where office politics comes in. You might learn which employee is more likely to earn a promotion. I’ve heard personal stories from customers and interesting information that helped me understand the politics behind the decision making at my customers. This information is valuable because you know who your supporters are and who your detractors are. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of having more people on your side so you neutralize the naysayers. Office politics has a big role in sales and you should be all ears to learn about it. “Tell me more” and “anything else I need to know?” should be part of your conversations.
Be on red alert when you learn a key supporter is transferring. Be sure you can demonstrate your value so you can cement your business relationship with the new person. Schedule a meeting to present your value as soon as there is a new decision maker so you earn the right to keep your business. At least, you make it more difficult for the customer to change when you can prove the value you bring.
It would be nice to be able to look back and correct what we’ve done wrong in the past. It’s not possible. Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” Use your sales vision and sell going forward.