Account management – take the long view

How easy is it to give up on a business account because you feel you’re getting nowhere ? Sometimes you feel it is impossible to build rapport with the key decision-maker.

Sometimes even sales people following up a quotation or proposal will try the contact once, but then give up if they don’t get through.

If you’ve decided an account is worth pursuing because it meets the necessary criteria, then it is worth pursuing! This means a structured, thought through communication plan. And no this doesn’t mean you need to contact them every day or every week – it has to be what is approriate. Contact them too much and they’ll start to get irritated. So that is clearly counterproductive.

Instead try to build up knowledge about all accounts you’re working with so that you understand what they do, how they do it and why they do it. There will be an audio CD available in early 2009 on the subject of account management. The working title is ‘highly effective account management (how to get more from your customer base)’ and you will be able to find it in the telesales skills section, follow the link http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_list.asp?Section=TELESALES%20SKILLS 

If somebody leaves (whether good news or bad news for you personally) it changes everything ! So it is vitally important to build good relationships with as many interested parties as you can at all times

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Avoid mixed messages – check their understanding

One of the easiest traps to fall into – particularly if you supply a technical or complicated product or service is to assume that everyone else knows as much about it as you do. Remember that you talk about your products and services all day every day, and so you’re well versed in what they are. However for some of your customers of course, they may only enter the market every few years, and so their knowledge may be patchy.

One of the modules To Market www.tomarket.co.uk covers on training is mixed messages. This is all about understanding that the message you send is not necessarily the same message they receive. There will be an audio CD on this subject released on this among the next batch, likely to be available during Q1 next year 2009. You will be able to find it by following this link http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_list.asp?Section=TELEPHONE%20COMMUNICATION%20SKILLS as it will be among the telephone communication skills section.

So remember to ask questions of the person you are talking to. This will keep them involved in the communication process and will help you get clear on whether they understand what you are saying. Don’t work on the assumption that they will ask if they don’t understand either, as most people don’t do this. It’s a bit like ‘the Emperor’s new clothes.’ People don’t like to look silly. Rather than ask, they will simply lose interest.

Another tip is to describe things in a colourful way, use other everyday examples of simple things which we can all relate to. These mental pictures often stick with people longer than the actual message ! 

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Natural Born Sellers – what do you think ?

Not the most entertaining programme ever made. John Caudwell must wonder what he let himself in for ! And to be successful at selling doesn’t have to be this way !!


Danny pictured above who is a car salesman seems the most likely to win if the outcome is based on natural sales ability.  Gavin is consistent – consistently useless that is ! He’s still in the running but only because the others realise he is no threat. Each week he turns up with a supposedly positive mental attitude, but where is the training ? With no training to help him improve his skills he just keeps underperforming week in, week out. Having the right approach and the right attitude is a help, but only of limited benefit if no-one is showing you how to do the job properly and how to read the customers. Have you noticed how Gavin talks, and talks and talks ? Selling is about a balance  : 50% listening and 50% speaking. And remember to structure your sales approach to listen first, talk second. There are 3 audio CDs which cover the structure of the sales call, have a look at this link http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_detail.asp?ProdID=16

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