I heard a sales rep say something during a coaching call the other day that caused me great concern. He was talking about the status of one of his existing accounts when he uttered the phrase, “They love us!” Then, he moved on to reviewing his next client’s status.
I stopped listening, however.
I was still stuck on those three words: They love us. Alarms were going off in my head and it brought me back to a time many years ago when I learned a valuable lesson about taking a client’s business for granted.
It was a beautiful spring day (mid-week) and I was working on the outside of my house with my dad. I had taken the time off from work to re-shingle and dad had asked me how things were going. “Good,” I replied. “My clients love me.”
Shortly after that I went downstairs to my office to check messages and my number one client had left his name and number and asked that I call back. I dialed immediately and he picked up. The purpose of his call was to let me know that we would no longer be doing business together. I remember standing there with a hammer in my hand trying to make sense of what I was hearing.
It turned out that I had not paid that client much attention. I believed that I was secure and safe as a vendor. That assumption turned out to be an expensive one and it taught me a lifelong lesson.
Ever since then, whenever I hear someone tell me how much a client loves them, I can’t help but think about how such a thought process could be the beginning of the end and how important it is not to take even one order for granted.
Like it or not, you are as good as the last job you shipped in and you can never, ever rest as a vendor. Your clients may indeed love you but unless you’ve got equipment that does something that no one else’s does, there is a Pez dispenser out there somewhere that will kick out another sales rep who looks exactly like you.
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