Please Don't Kick Me Out Of The Fraternity

KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov 7, 2016) — To My Brothers & Sisters in Sales:

I know you feel betrayed. I know you think we’ve gone to the dark side. But you know us, you know we have one of the countries best Center’s for Professional Selling here at the Coles College of Business. Trust me, we haven’t abandoned you. In fact, the “Clients for Life® client retention process” can make salespeople even more effective. Wait – wait - let me explain:

The “One Thing” (Curly, City Slickers, 1991): “The One Thing” is that when your company gets markedly better at retaining clients, your job of selling new business becomes significantly easier. What sales professional wouldn’t want to have the industry’s best client retention story to tell in their sales presentations? How can you claim to be the leader if you don’t have your industry’s leading rate of retention? Doesn’t wash.

Right Clients / Right Terms®: These great potential clients really are out there and you can find them without wasting your time on prospects that don’t fit. And guess what. Knowing you must adhere to the “right terms” makes you a significantly better negotiator because there is a strict limit to what you can concede. Amazing how that works. Importantly, we’re going to hand the operators brand new clients where they are positioned to succeed and to win. That’s because ultimately, when they win, we all win. To be candid, the same can’t always be said for sales (and you know it hurts me to have to admit that).

The Transition MeetingSM: Yes it’s true – Operations really does facilitate the Transition Meeting where they have the opportunity to sign off that they are committed to meet the expectations that you and your colleagues in Sales helped to create in the mind of the prospect. And yes, this candid conversation takes place before the contract is signed (even though we all know that you could have gotten the prospect to sign it earlier). I know it’s a scary thought, but delivering a client where everybody has signed off and committed themselves in advance, puts your firm in a great position to make them a lifetime client.

Compensation: OK, I know you’re a “hunter” and I understand the thrill of the successful hunt. Really do. Been there. But “farmers” (aka Operators) are important too and companies function at peak efficiency when they cooperatively integrate these two functions. So we want the “farmers” to prosper when the acquisition occurs and the “hunters” to be invested in keeping that client on the reference list. We’ll leave the specifics of commission design to the specialists in HR, but we’ll definitely entrust the strategy to senior management and their relentless focus on client retention.

Remember the times in your life when someone said to you, “You’ll thank me later.” Like me, you probably didn’t buy it at the time… (“Yeah sure.”)  But usually, with the benefit of hindsight and perspective, it turned out to be true.

This is one of those times. 

For a copy of our white paper “The Staggering Cost of Losing Clients,” or for a demo or more information on our Digital Badge in Account Management, please contact Dr. Gary L. Selden, gselden@kennesaw.edu or 470-578-3191. 


Steve, John & Gary

The Tenacity Center for Account Management and Client Retention

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