The Coach's Corner

Archive for September, 2015

Strategic Selling: Ideal Customers

September 28th, 2015 // Tom Doescher //
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Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

Later this year, I plan to post a series of suggestions related to the best practices for obtaining new customers/clients. As part of the preparation for that series, I recently finished reading The New Strategic Selling, by Miller, Heiman, Tuleja and Marriott. I would recommend this book, especially if your job responsibilities include business development. The authors touch on several of my favorite subjects, which I will comment on in the next several blogs.

What is an ideal customer/client? (Honestly, is that something you’ve ever thought about?) The authors offer the following list of “best customer” characteristics:

  1. They trust my company’s performance.
  2. They have innovative, progressive management.
  3. They’re loyal to the vendors selected.
  4. They’re committed to quality control.
  5. They’re willing to pay for “value-added” aspects of my product.
  6. They demonstrate the highest business ethics and integrity.
  7. They want a win-win relationship on every sale.

The authors follow that up with a list of “worst customer” characteristics:

  1. They’re inflexible on price.
  2. They’re slow in making buying decisions.
  3. They have no loyalty to my company or to me.
  4. They have an authoritarian management system.
  5. They’re secretive and unwilling to cooperate.
  6. They want me to lose so they can win.

I would highly recommend evaluating your customers/clients with the above criteria, plus anything else that’s important to you. And then take action. With the generally strong economy, now is a great time to separate from your worst customer/client. It’s scary, but you’ll be glad you did it — and so will your team!

Words, Words, Words

September 21st, 2015 // Tom Doescher //
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Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

I have written on the subject of “words” before, but I recently spent a little more time thinking about the topic while reading some very good business books. I believe the words you use influence and have a definite impact on how you think and behave.

In the books I was reading, many of the authors refer to their clients/customers as “accounts.” I assume they mean accounts receivable — or maybe accounts payable? (Just kidding.)

Seriously, though, if you’re the client/customer, would you like to be referred to as an “account”?

I would highly recommend proudly referring to the companies you serve as your customers/clients. I bet you worked really hard to obtain their business, and you continue to work hard to provide them with great products and services.

If I’m missing something, let me know what it is.

Do You Have the Courage to “No Quote”?

September 14th, 2015 // Tom Doescher //
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Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

When I have reviewed client data regarding successful quotes on new business, I’ve generally found a very low hit rate. In reflecting on why this might be the case, it seems that often we (yes, I fall into this trap, too) like being busy, and preparing a proposal or bid feels good — like we’re accomplishing something. In fact, it’s probably a waste of time.

In The Challenger Sale, the authors (Matthew Dixson and Brent Adamson) stated that Challenger reps (their label for the most successful sales reps) continually assess the likelihood of closing the sale. If they assess a low probability of closing, they’re quick to cut the sales effort short and move on to the next opportunity.

In my observation, many companies don’t put a high value on time. I would suggest applying the old adage of “quality over quantity” related to new business.

What’s your success rate on new business quotes? If you were to spend more time on new business opportunities, where you would guess your success rate would be higher, rather than wasting your efforts on creating quotes for low-probability business, would you be better off?

Doescher Advisors Proverb: It is better to be profitable than busy.

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Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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