One of the most difficult questions to ask is, “How are we doing?” It can make us feel like we are opening the door for the client to begin complaining. And, that might happen. More often though, it is a relationship-building question. It shows a desire to help the client succeed.
It is easy to lose a client because you are out of touch with the relationship – because you mistakenly believe that if the client doesn’t complain, there are no problems. Effective salespeople take the initiative by asking, “how are we doing?” and “what could we be doing better?”
Begin with your top five clients. Ask for a short meeting – share your intention with your client. Keep the talking points to a minimum, and give them to the client in advance so that he has time to give your questions some consideration. Ask if there are items he would like to add. Your talking points could look something like this:
- Short review of services we are currently providing.
- Management Expertise – how well are we managing our team and tactics? How quickly and completely do we address your concerns?
- Financial – How would you measure our effectiveness at creating budgets, adhering to budgets, managing resources and the overall value of our services?
- Innovation – How would you evaluate our problem solving, work approach and ability to develop solutions that help to give you a competitive advantage?
- Relationship – How well are we fitting into your overall business? How well are we interfacing with your internal customers?
- Moving forward – What ways could we or should we be supporting you that we are not?
There is a win here for everyone. Your client feels valued, and you get information that allows you to course-correct and better manage the relationship and the account.
Don’t wait for your client to take the initiative. YOU take the opportunity in the first quarter to demonstrate to your clients the value you place on their business and your relationship with them.
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Jane Gentry leverages her experience with Fortune 500 clients to help mid-market companies grow revenue by solving key sales issues like: process, pipeline, leadership, relationship management and hiring. She speaks worldwide on topics about sales growth and leadership. Her clients include companies in manufacturing, medical, professional services and technology.
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