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One call can change it all…

Imagine the next call you get is from your #1 customer.

They are the customer that is at the top of your list every year. You’ve built budgets around them, you’ve received big bonuses because of them, you even made president’s club one year when they had that special project, heck you added a new deck to your house last year because of them!!

When the phone vibrates, you step out of your sales team meeting to take the call. These guys never go to voicemail.

Judy starts talking. She seems nervous and rushed. You hear: “I’m sorry” “new director and it wasn’t my decision” “pricing was a little lower” “looking to make some changes“…..none of the words are making sense, they have an open order. How can this be?? There is a long pause and Judy says “Are you there?” You reply: “Yes, I’m here, just shocked, do you mind if I stop by?” Judy replies”Why don’t you give me a call next week, we’ll have to square away final billing anyway. Again, I’m sorry, I’ve enjoyed working with you.”

Thats when it hits you- they’re gone.

Over the next few days you devise a plan to win them back. You aren’t going to just accept the fact that they are leaving. You enlist the help of your sales leaders, you get reports together to show the customer what a great job you’ve done, you pull data to show that you are well priced, you begin to make calls to various people in the customer organization to get info, you ask them for the opportunity to learn what you could have done better, you start a call campaign to set appointments with the customer’s buying team and leadership team, (to include people in the home office, that you’ve never visited) you ask their favorite service manager to stop by to see if he can do anything, and last, but not least, you send Marjorie at the front desk an Edible Arrangement. Whew! Lets hope this works. We’ll see. It may be too late.

I hope you never have to go through the pain of this call. I’ve been through it and it stinks. There is a way to prevent it, though.

I’ve taken this experience and turned it into a game. Ideally, this game will prevent you from ever having to live this nightmare.

Here is how it goes:

Pretend you got a call like the one above. Then, you should outline the plan to get the customer back. Be specific. Outline every action item with dates, who will do them, and the expected results. Think about who can help, what resources you need, what special considerations might be given, and what conversations you really need to have and with whom. Then, put the plan into action.

Anything that is outlined on that plan can be addressed now.  Everything on that plan should be addressed now. Do it. Don’t wait for that phone call.

Too often, the things that cause us to get these unwanted calls are things we could have prevented, should have known, or could have gotten in front of. By being proactive, putting a plan together, and executing on a well thought out plan you may save yourself some heartbreak.

If you are a salesperson, you should play this game a couple times a year, using your top customers.  Sales Leaders, if you aren’t playing this game with your teams, you are missing out. Getting them to think this way will save and grow accounts. You can take this hypothetical ‘win back’ plan and turn it into a proactive outline that will engage stakeholders, grow your relationship, produce more revenue, and keep that number one customer relationship thriving.

Gotta go…my phone’s ringing….

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Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!



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