was shocked recently, when meeting with a prospective client, on how little
repeat business they receive. In fact, I really could not understand why until
I met with their sales leadership, and then it became disturbingly clear. They
are not teaching (or managing) how to go back to the well.
prospective client has been in business for 8 years and revenue has grown
between 18% to 22% year-over-year. The organization is structured with 3 sales
managers each having 4 outside sales reps and 2 inside sales reps reporting.
The foundation of sales for the company has always been to cold call from an
inside sales team, send the outside rep to a face-to-face meeting, take the
order, fulfill the order, and assume the customers will call in for repeat
orders. This approach worked for a while, but something recently has happened
to cause the owner to question this approach.
see, my prospective client has 2 new competitors that entered the market over
the past 18 months, and these new competitors are very aggressive with their
inbound marketing techniques. Beyond having very solid websites, they are blogging
constantly, and driving traffic to their websites via paid advertising, such as
Google AdWords. But, what has become more of an awakening moment for my
prospective client, is knowing that their own customers are being sold by these
competitors on a repeat basis.
competition has, for lack of a better term, found the weak spot in my
prospective client’s armor. They have done very little reselling to their
customers. In other words, they have not gone back to the well. They’ve spent
time initially selling the customer and then the sales team loses touch.
Whereas, these new competitors, are constantly going back to the customers to
ensure they are happy with the products and services being offered, to inquire
about upcoming programs or projects where they may be able to help, and to
generally get “face time” to show the customer they care about the
key to the competitors penetrating the market is their focus on the
relationship. Going back to the well is just that – going back to your customer
for whom you have a relationship. Of course, the customer knows you are trying
to sell more, that is common sense. But, what my prospective client has been
missing is the fact that their customers want to buy more, they also want to
know they are appreciated.
back to the well and go back often is a theme I’ve embraced my entire
career. While your customer or client may not buy every time, as long as they
feel as though you care and respect the relationship, you are more likely to
keep them as a customer or client, and going back to the well will reap rewards
more times than you may imagine.