Are You Bending Over Backward to Earn Your Client's Trust and Business?
In my more than 20 years of sales experience, I've performed "cartwheels" for my clients many times. Well, it turns out that buyers have once again raised the bar, and cartwheels are no longer enough.
For our recent "Turning the table: Clients tell us how you can win their business" webinar, I asked our powerful panelists what it takes to earn their trust. The new standard?
"You need to bend over backwards."
This comment by Byron Moore, general manager of Greyhouse Publishing, was seconded by other panelists, and our webinar attendees wanted to know more. We received a flood of emails, messages and tweets asking us for specifics. What exactly does "bend over backwards" mean?
I went back to our panelists to ask them for details. We got some general, big-picture suggestions, and some interesting specifics.
Joel Marks, director of merchandising and procurement for Home Hardware, told me that he wants to be educated and informed. So do your homework ahead of time. Be prepared to tell your client the size of the market, the financial model, channel management strategies, market share and expectations.
Carol Ring, vice president of strategic initiatives at Rogers Communications, said that she wants to be shown the cost benefits or additional revenue opportunities—so, once again: Do your homework, and be prepared to answer tough questions about ROI.
Doing what you say you'll do—and doing it really well—is crucial for Susan Stitt, director of human resources at Astra Zenenca. So make promises carefully, and then be sure you follow through.
A theme we heard a few times was: Be willing to do something that the client has not even thought of to help them achieve their business goals. Be one step ahead, thinking outside your traditional service offerings.
Our buyers also mentioned a few specific ways that salespeople have distinguished themselves from other vendors and won their business:
- Make site visits instead of phone calls.
- Provide training and education sessions or webinars.
- Have the president, VP, or senior manager accompany you to the meeting.
- Really reinforce the competitive advantage and how that will impact doing business with you.
- Offer more flexible terms—like 60 or 90 days if you normally offer 30.
- If appropriate, wine and dine.
- Offer free shipping.
- Do an unselfish favor. Use your resources to assist the prospective client with overcoming a current challenge.
- Give your client networking opportunities. Introduce them to people they are interested in meeting.
- Find ways to make your client feel special while still making your relationship win/win.
In a nutshell, there's no one right way to bend over backward—it's all about doing your homework and finding a way to provide unexpected value to your client.
If you would like to listen to the full "Turning the table: Clients tell us how you can win their business" webinar (approximately 75 minutes), visit www.teneoresults.com. The recording link is on our home page.
Thought Provoking Question: How will you "bend over backward" to earn your client's trust and become their valuable partner?