Account Management or Account Stagnation?


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You have several good clients.  However, you know those good clients are purchasing a few lines of business from your competitor.    You know you offer a better product and service after the sale.  So what’s the reason they haven’t moved those lines of business to you?

Check out these three reasons for account stagnation rather than effective account management. 

#1:  You haven’t asked.   Or if you did ask, it was pitiful.  “You wouldn’t consider…..” Your self-talk about the existing vendor has turned into a full blown fiction novel.   And when you say something to yourself repeatedly, fiction becomes truth.  “They’ve been with X, Y, Z company for ten years…they’ll never move.   They don’t want to put all their eggs into one basket.”   Give your client an opportunity to tell you no!  Ask and you will receive an answer based on fact not fiction.

#2:  Lack of pre-call planning.  If you are going to unseat the incumbent, you research and know the incumbent’s areas of strength and weakness.  Once you are equipped with that knowledge, you are equipped to design value propositions that expose a gap in their offerings, without ever mentioning their name.   For example, if you offer a dedicated customer service for your clients, the value proposition might sound like.  “Joe, a lot of our clients are moving XYZ line of business  to us because of our ability to offer a dedicated customer service rep.   They’re tired of wasting time re-educating the rep every time they call in with a need or concern.”     

#3:  Lack of empathy.  Change in business is hard, for a variety of reasons.   Relationships are important, so even when the existing vendor is screwing up,  people can be reluctant to change due to a personal connection.  

Then there is the hassle factor of change.  Your customer is busy and the perceived (key word)  pain of change can appear greater than the current pain of mediocrity by the current provider.

Empathetic salespeople know how to ‘walk a mile’ in their prospects shoes.  They put on the customer hat and address  change issues up front.  “Jeremy, if I were you, I would be concerned about…….should we talk about that?”

Ask, plan and demonstrate empathy.  The combination of these skills will change your role from account stagnation to effective account management. 

Good Selling!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colleen Stanley
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc. a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, emotional intelligence and hiring/selection. She is the author of two books, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success, now published in six languages, and author of Growing Great Sales Teams.


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