In our business, customers are hard to come by and easy to lose. And even if we do everything right, things beyond our control, such as downsizing or a relocation, can end a business relationship overnight. In the B2B world, this is probably the rule rather than the exception. That being the case, it’s very important for the sales team to work smart, 24/7/365. Here are 5 ways poorly trained or sloppy sales personnel can put customers at risk, things we guard against at all times.
- Failing to take responsibility. In our experience, customers are much more likely to forgive a mistake than a lie. This is worth remembering, because in the heat of battle it’s tempting to take what seems like the path of least resistance and run for cover instead of owning up.
- Misinforming. As a supplier, customers look at us as the authority. That being the case, it’s important to take whatever time is necessary to respond with accurate and complete answers. Whenever sales people bluff, they set the stage for serious problems when their bad advice comes back to haunt them.
- Ignoring. When customers feel as though they’re being taken for granted, they’re much more receptive to considering other options.
- Not listening. Everybody talks about the importance of listening in sales … but it takes a lot of effort to walk that talk. One thing I love to see is a sales rep who takes a lot of notes.
- Failing to innovate. Sales people easily slide into maintenance mode on existing business and focus their real energy on getting new customers. However, if you’re not proving your value every day, even the most loyal customer will look elsewhere for ideas; it’s only a matter of time.
There are many, many ways customer relationships can be disrupted, but staying on top of these five issues makes it much easier to overcome the other challenges that inevitably crop up.
What do think are the keys to maintaining healthy customer relationships?