We got some good feedback last week in our discussion about account penetration. In it, I provided a simple framework for using referrals to spread yourself throughout a large organization like a virus.
This week, we’ll discuss three reasons why following this strategy and fully penetrating every large account you work with is not just a good idea, it should be a job requirement!
Since last week’s episode on penetrating large accounts, Samuel said “Good information. Keep it coming.” Paul said “Interesting and useful. Worth trying.” If you missed that episode, I would encourage you to go back, check it out and share it with everyone in your organization. You can find it at topsecrets.com/166.
As Paul suggested, penetrating large accounts is definitely worth trying. But in my opinion — beyond that, I would say it’s worth instituting as a requirement… as part of your company’s ongoing success procedures.
Hopefully, you have a series of success procedures in place in your business — formulas and tactics that are proven to work again and again and again. If you don’t have that, I would recommend you get that in place as soon as possible. And here are three reasons why I believe that having a procedure in place for fully penetrating large accounts should be part of your sales training — required of all employee salespeople in your organization and strongly encouraged among all your independent reps.
1. To grow your sales within each organization you work with. That’s the most obvious one. But unfortunately, if you just view it as a way to grow your sales, you might view it as optional or a “some day” thing. After all, you can do it anytime, right?
Well, no. It’s actually not right at all. It’s a big mistake, and we’ll talk about why in a moment, but just think about it from your own point of view.
Aren’t there big accounts that you know you should be penetrating, but for some reason you haven’t done it? It may have occurred to you, you might have even thought, “I really ought to do this,” but for some reason, you failed to take action on it.
Growing sales within existing accounts should really be viewed as the low hanging fruit. But that’s just one reason you should do it.
2. You think they’re buying from you, but they’re not.
I got some feedback on this last week from Bob, who said, “So true! Just last week I was working with a large account on a re-brand. I always believed everything went through their marketing director and then to me. However, we discovered three different departments had ordered online for a total of $22,000! When I questioned the marketing director relative to why they were ordering online, she said that is my problem, not hers. I should have been doing what you suggested all along.”
Fortunately, when Bob found out, he said he was able to “unhook the orders and get them placed with us,” but it’s an important lesson. Just because you feel like you have a good relationship with one contact in an organization doesn’t mean you’re getting all the business. And as Bob’s client pointed out, that’s the salesperson’s problem, not the client’s. Another good reason to make fully penetrating your accounts a requirement.
3. This one is just painful. Imagine you’ve been selling to one person in a large account for years. You have a great relationship with them and they only buy from you. Extremely loyal. You’ve been meaning to ask about others in the organization who buy, but you keep putting it off. You don’t want to rock the boat or be a pest.
Then one day, you call your client and find out that he or she is no longer with the company. Gone without warning! What happens now?
Now, you have to struggle to resell yourself into an account where you used to rule.
Now imagine a different scenario. Imagine you followed our little process of spreading yourself throughout the organization and you’re in touch with all the other buyers. That’s helpful right off the bat, because you wouldn’t be losing all the business you have in that organization in the first place. But perhaps more importantly, your internal contacts can not just introduce you to the new person, but they can say, “Here’s who we use.” And an internal referral like that is far more likely to help you get the business than if you were to have to try to sell your way in again, by saying, “I did a lot of business with your predecessor.”
Many people new to a position are looking to put their own mark on the job. They might not want to use you BECAUSE their predecessor did. But if the whole organization uses you, they’ll be far more likely to comply, rather than rocking the boat.
So if you haven’t made account penetration a must, the day to start is today.
It’s like planting a tree. The better day would have been thirty years ago, but if you haven’t done it, the day to start is today. And if you need help bringing new accounts through the door like clockwork, then check out Top Secrets of Customer Acquisition at topsecrets.com/tsca. If you have any questions or would like to suggest topics for a future podcast, go to asktopsecrets.com.
If you’re new to the industry and need to get grounded in the essentials of promotional products sales, visit us online at topsecrets.com/gettingstarted. If you need to get clients now with no distractions and no excuses, visit topsecrets.com/tsca. Or, if you’re a smart, focused, independent distributor doing a reasonable volume of sales, join the AIM SmartEQP community today at SmartEQP.com that’s SmartEQP.com.