Sweat the Small Stuff
Sales professionals who can proudly point to a handful of high
profile “top rung” clients may feel that they’ve reached the Promised Land, yet
this is not always the case. No,
wait; let’s put this more directly.
Sales professionals who exclusively cater to and cultivate their top rung clients are playing a dangerous game with potentially unacceptable consequences.
Here’s why: while most sales professionals effectively cultivate their top rung clients, they assume that they’ve thoroughly worked their lower rung -- and even lowest rung -- clients. This is often an error!
Many smaller clients aren’t as small as they appear; they’re merely small in terms of the volume of business that they’re doing with a particular sales professional (such as you). There’s every rational reason to expect that smaller clients are in fact doing business with other sales professionals (such as your competition).
And the consequences?
Well, besides the obvious loss of business that’s on the table, there’s the very serious problem that one of your smaller clients is doing business with your competition…which means that your competition – and not you! – may be more aggressive in their sales technique and ultimately win all of the business.
Or, even if your competition is passive, your smaller client may decide – unilaterally and without notice – to consolidate their vendors. If you’re a smaller piece of the pie, expect to be on the outside of the inner circle.
Regardless of how this plays out, the result here is that you don’t merely lose your small client; you waste a prime opportunity to do more business with an existing client. You’ve heard of win-win situations? This is lose2.
Here’s how to avoid this from happening in the first place (which is always the most efficient strategy):
4 screen and qualify your lower rung clients; discover additional sales potential
4 produce business collateral such as newsletters, white papers, and brochures -- and target your lower rung clients (don’t do a “one size fits all” document!)
4 investigate why your smaller clients may be doing business with other sales professionals; there may be no strategic reason for this (in which case the situation is perfect for your consolidated, cost effective, quality assured, and risk reduced solution).
Once you implement any (or sometimes all) of the above solutions, you’ll find yourself in a very pleasant place. Instead of lose2, you’ll be in a can’t lose position. Why?
If you find additional sales opportunities, you increase your revenue, and reduce your risk of being outpaced by a competitor.
Alternatively, if you don’t find any additional sales opportunities, then you can stop assuming and start knowing this – and confidently implement a touch point program designed for your lower rung clients.