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Do You Treat Current Customers as Well as New Customers?

Companies that win in the marketplace succeed not only by signing new customers, but also by doing the right things to maintain and grow current customers. Often, this gets down to salespeople establishing strong, collaborative relationships over time. To do this successfully, solid behavioral skills can be learned. Here’s an example of the difference taking care of existing customers can make.

The Situation

Darren is a sales rep for a glass supplier. He calls on Rachel, a product manager for a manufacturer that makes decorative windows. Rachel’s products are steady sellers. So, for three years, Rachel has placed monthly orders with Darren’s firm.

It’s not a large piece of business, but Darren likes having Rachel as a steady customer with a dependable revenue stream. He says, “I contact her regularly and drop by once in awhile when I have a new product catalog. It’s like clockwork. She gets what she needs, and we both know the drill.” Here’s part of a recent conversation:

Darren: How’s business?
Rachel: Oh, fine. We’re really busy right now. You know, this time of year.
Darren: Is there anything I can do for you? Anything you need?
Rachel: Nothing at the moment. Our development team will be working on some new designs.
Darren: Well, if you need additional product for that, let me know.

Getting That “Uh-Oh” Phone Call

A month later, Rachel phones Darren to tell him that her company has decided to go in a “different direction,” meaning, she was dropping Darren’s firm. Darren’s reaction is philosophical, but he does ask if he could have an opportunity to match the competitor’s price. Rachel declines.

What Doesn’t Darren Get?

Darren feels that he has serviced this account and shown diligence by checking on his client regularly and asking questions. He thinks Rachel was probably lured away by lower prices. From what you know of Q4 collaborative selling, what could Darren have done as part of his normal account management to head off losing this customer?

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