I have always tried to build relationships with existing customers with the goal of making them clients. A salesperson who becomes tagged as the promo person, the forms person, the printer, or––the hardest mold to break––the commodity person will never convert the customer to a client. What’s missing? The go-to person who has the solutions.
A lesson learned: I recently was fortunate enough to have a customer that ordered 10,000 T-shirts and hats a year. For five years, I was Joe the Promo Guy. One day, I received a call informing me that Larry the Promo Guy from Brand X beat my prices and Vanguard Direct was history. I guess that company was never a client to lose because I never had it (in spite of doing almost one million dollars’ worth of business with it in five-plus years). My contacts at the company had left, and the department had gone to another outsourcing group.
This is a hard lesson to learn, and it happens time and time again to salespeople in our industry. We now, however, have several clients that consider Vanguard Direct a solutions provider that offers a wide range of services. This is all due to the fact that we don’t go to our clients with products to sell––we go to our clients to listen to their problems, and we find solutions that meet their needs.
When is the last time you converted a customer to a client?
Author: Joe Corbo