Account servicing might be looked at as simply a time consuming, unproductive activity by both salespeople and their managers, unless a major fire has to be put out to prevent an account from being lost. After all — as most top sales trainers teach — the top money making activity is actively selling, not doing administrative work. With a shift in approach, however, account servicing can be quite rewarding as far as generating more leads and business.
In this article, we will explore the sales process improvement of turning account servicing into an active sales activity, making it more palatable for salespeople and producing more sales dollars.
Build your Roster of Coaches
In sales, coaches are your advocates, the opinion leaders or inside personnel that will open the door to a sale in an organization you currently have no inroads in. Your best coaches are happy customers that have been actively serviced and trust you. Give them a little extra, involve them in your future developments, handle any service issues immediately — and watch them actively help you build your business. Provide indifferent account servicing, and risk losing them even if they are satisfied you’re your products.
One bonus to proper account servicing is that you will identify not only your best customers, but also the problematic and chronically unsatisfied customers that place inordinate demands on not only your time and attention, but other departments’ as well. “Firing” these customers might result in a dramatic sales process improvement, as efforts can be directed to more fruitful customers and opportunities.
Every account servicing contact is a chance to deepen the conversation with a customer and discover previously unknown areas where your firm could provide a solution. Keep your ear close to the ground and pay attention to problems, expansion plans, new hires, and what their competitors are doing. In any of these areas, be prepared to offer your solutions. Any sale that occurs as a result of account servicing is desirable, high-margin business, as not a single advertising dollar was spent procuring it, and it occurred while doing a necessary function anyway.
Previously sold customers are much more likely to buy from you again, as you represent a known factor that means they do not have to search for another solutions provider and manage yet another relationship. Leverage this to capture more business by expanding your offerings.
Get Referrals and Testimonials
Happy customers are the best source of referrals and testimonials. Consider referrals as extra payments for a job well done — don’t bother asking for them from your customers unless you have been spot-on with your account servicing. If you haven’t been, then referral business should be an excellent motivation to revamp your servicing model as part of your sales process improvement. No one is going to refer a so-so provider, which might make them look bad, to a professional associate.
Testimonials are a very powerful marketing tool, especially when the source is from a recognized brand or otherwise respected. One approach with especially busy people is to write the testimonial yourself, matching closely the tone of the customer, and have them sign off on it. This makes the testimonial process painless for both you and the client, as they don’t feel put upon, and you get something that meets your standards.
While the bulk of a salesperson should go towards prospecting and selling new customers, don’t neglect account management in your sales process improvement actions. Hire staff to do most of it but keep in touch yourself to keep your clients happy and bringing you more high-margin business.