Protecting Your Good Accounts from the Competition
By Dave Kahle
We all know the feeling. Your key contact in one of your good accounts sheepishly admits that they have moved some business to a competitor. No problem with your service, it was just a price issue.
Nothing is more discouraging. You’ve spent years developing this account, building relationships, working hard at meeting their needs, and then, in the blink of an eye, you lose the business to a price-cutter.
Is there anything you can do to prevent this? Of course. Here are four proven strategies that will help you prevent your hard-earned business from disappearing into the hands of price cutting competition.
Strategy One: Deepen your personal relationships with the key decision makers.
It is really difficult, though not impossible, for your friends to take the business away from you. So, turn the key decision makers into your friends.
Don’t rely just on the business aspect of your relationship, no matter how sound, to see you through. Make it a point to develop personal relationships with the key people. Try to spend time with them socially. Take them to a ball game, a concert, golfing or fishing. Spend one-on-one time with them outside of the work environment. Arrange to have them meet your spouse and family. Get to know them more deeply than you would normally.
These efforts to turn them from business acquaintances to personal friends is almost never wasted. As the relationship grows, the natural tendency to keep doing business with you grows proportionately.
Strategy Number Two: Close any open doors that may exist in the account.
When I’m coaching sales people on how to get their foot in the door of an account that is in the hands of the competition, I have them look for open doors. “Open doors” are lingering issues that make you, the established vendor, vulnerable to the competition, and that are within your capability to close.
When you are on the inside, trying to protect your business, you need to make sure that there are no open doors for your competitors. For example, you may have a pile of returns that are sitting on the account’s shipping dock, waiting for a return authorization from you. It may not be a big deal to you, but from the perspective of a competitor sales person, it may be an example of your lack of attention to that account. And that can be a little opening into which a competitor can wedge themselves.
Make sure you take care of any lingering service-type issues… [click here to read the entire article on DaveKahle.com]
About the Author:
Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales authorities. He’s written twelve books, presented in 47 states and eleven countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations. Sign up for his free weekly Ezine. His book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime, has been recognized by three international entities as “one of the five best English language business books.” Check out his latest book, The Good Book on Business.