Posted by: brandextenders | January 5, 2011

Everything Has a Season in Our Lives, Including Customers

The Seasons of Life

Last year was a reminder that everything in life has a season. From one of our dearest friends passing away at too young of an age to our oldest son turning 18 years-old, I was reminded that the only constant in life is change.

Life itself is a season; from the day we enter this world until we take our last breath the scenery is constantly changing. From childhood to parenthood, jobs, friends, hobbies, pets and even churches all have a season. That season may be life long while others last a few weeks, months or years. And if you are in sales, so too do your customers have a season in your sales life.

There are some customers I’ve had for a decade or more, but the majority of them have been with me for a much shorter period of time. And given the economic times we’re living in I can’t take any of my clients for granted. Not only are people getting laid off at record rates, but others are changing jobs within their company as well as changing companies; businesses are closing their doors and people aren’t spending as much on marketing. So customer churn within our businesses may be greater than it ever has been, but the quotas we live under as salespeople don’t ever seem to do anything, but increase.

So how do we continue to grow our business when everything around us seems to be falling apart? Not only must we work harder, but we need to work smarter as well and here are a few ideas I use to keep opportunities flowing into the pipeline.

  • Referrals: I just completed a job with a client and she was very pleased with the results. Now is the time for me to ask for referrals from her; to guide me to people she knows who may be able to use the services I provide. When a client is happy they typically will be more than willing to provide you with names of people you can contact and a warm referral lead is the best kind of lead there is.
  • Friends: Don’t be afraid to ask your friends if their company has need of your services. Friends can also be a great source of referrals to people they know. Be respectful and don’t go to this well too often because friends typically have much longer season than customers.
  • Call on Former Customers: They thought you had value at one time and depending on why they are no longer a client, you may be able to win them back. Contact them to see what their circumstances are and if they aren’t in a position to help, maybe they can refer you to others who can use your expertise.
  • Get Deeper with Current Customers: You may work with a company’s HR department, but your services may be a great fit for the sales, marketing, manufacturing, purchasing or other departments. Ask your customer if they can give you the names of others in their company you can contact.
  • Social Media: Join Linkedin and use it to research people and companies you want to work with. You’d be surprised at who your contact may know. If you’re not “Tweeting” on Twitter you should start as it will help build your personal credibility if you tweet articles and ideas that tie in with your expertise. Be careful though to bring value because those who only push themselves get “unfollowed” quickly. Hoovers.com is another great place to research those companies you want to target and work with.
  • Prospecting: Always be on the lookout for companies you want to work with. Maybe you pass them every day driving to the office or you’ve seen their TV commercials or newspaper ads. Do some research to find a name or two you can start with and develop a creative way to contact them and show your expertise.
  • Create a Target List: Develop a list of 50 companies you would like to work with and believe your expertise lends itself to. In your spare time research these companies and find a person or department you can start with and when you have a few minutes make the contact.

No matter how professional we are or the passion and expertise we bring to our clients, we can’t always keep them for life. The only constant in life is change and everything has a season including our customers. Keep those you can by always bringing value above and beyond what they need and always be looking for new customers to keep your pipeline full.

With 25 years in promotional marketing, Steve Woodburn works with clients to develop creative and measurable solutions that solve their marketing needs using promotional products, uniform programs, online company stores, point-of-sale initiatives along with rewards and recognition. He builds long-term relationships and becomes a trusted advisor and consultant his clients can turn to for all their brand extension needs. You can reach him at Staples Promotional Products: stephen.woodburn@staplespromoproducts.com

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Responses

  1. cool

    • Thanks for taking time to read my post and I hope it was beneficial.


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