Starting out with a new customer is a lot like any first date, the unknowns loom large, both the risks and the rewards and it’s full of hope and excitement. Assuming it’s not a blind date!
In business, the unforgivable is walking into that first date, blind.
It’s not hard to be prepared, too make yourself (your company) attractive, and most importantly, a suitable partner. Here’s a few thoughts, well three that serve me well, based on experience and results.
Know what business they’re in, and I don’t just mean the industry!
An Insurance company selling through brokers, and a direct response based Insurance company have very different business processes and management challenges. Similarly a broker and an Underwriter! But they’re all in the Insurance business.
Know their industry, their sales model, and their fulfilment model!
Know the customers you already have. How often do customers ask, do you do business with businesses like mine? Have the answer, and as above, not just because they’re in the same industry. It’s more meaningful to reference a direct response insurance customer to a direct response energy seller than a legacy energy supplier with a different business model.
Know the customers you already have by their industry, as well as their sales and fulfilment models!
Ask, not just what they buy, but why, and what’s good, and what keeps them awake at night, and what’s coming down the road for them (and share experience where you can from like customers you have), and the challenge of change, and…, and…
If you have demonstrated understanding, and asked and answered questions honestly and openly, it’s seldom customers don’t respond the same.
The more clearly you understand the view from your customers seat, the more confidence they will have in you to help them meet their goals and aspirations for tomorrow.
And then you can all them a customer. Now you have a relationship.