Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford

NAVIGATION - SEARCH

Going Back To The Well - October 3, 2015

I 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.

The 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.

You 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.

The 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 relationship.

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.

Go 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.

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