customer relationships

The Ultimate Guide to Customer Relationships & Key Account Management

Jeanne HeadBusiness, Marketing Strategies

My boss always says, “The best way to start a business relationship… is to start a business relationship.” He paraphrased what he learned from another radio professional some years ago (which he does a lot), but that specific statement still resonates with me. Business relationships – or customer relationships – are vital to the success and enjoyment of a career in sales.

So often do we find ourselves caught in the monotony of sales. It’s easy to go door-to-door and pitch a package that gives the customer x amount of y for z amount of dollars. Personally, I’ve been in situations where I have only been ten minutes into the first conversation with a prospect, pitched a package, and left feeling embarrassed and discouraged because my “perfect” package was rejected. After that happened a couple dozen times, I finally realized that what I was going for was the quantity, not the quality in my numbers.

I could no longer sell a package; I was offering a solution. Additionally, I was no longer selling products; I was selling services.

When our customers become receptive to the solutions we offer them, it’s safe to say we’ve established customer relationships, and we have reached a consultative approach to selling our services. However, regardless of how big or small a customer’s problems are, you are dedicating a considerable amount of your time to that customer – time that may be better spent on something more productive. If I was going to sell my services, I was also selling my time. I needed to identify my key accounts – the accounts that were worth selling my time to.  These accounts needed to meet the following criteria:

  1. An established, good working relationship with the customer – there is mutual trust, likeability, and familiarity between us
  2. The services that I have to offer them make sense to solve their solution
  3. The customer is willing to share the problems with their business with me
  4. The customer is receptive to the solutions I have to offer
  5. There is potential to improve the business with the services that I can provide
  6. I can show them how the services will benefit them in the long run
  7. My team can support the solutions to that customer

Now that I’ve found my key accounts, my productivity (and my income) have increased exponentially! Your time is valuable – build customer relationships that treat it that way.

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