Picture this: you have been putting a ton of time, energy, and hard work into one of your key accounts, and your tenacity and superior selling skills have paid off because you finally achieved Preferred Position. Congratulations! Now what?
As it relates to selling, position is your current status and degree of influence in the customer relationship, and Preferred Position is the strongest possible position as a sales professional. It means having as much of your customer’s business as you want to have. If you are in Preferred Position with an account, you are the standard by which all competitors are judged. Selling is a journey, and the destination of all sales activities should be to reach Preferred Position with your customers.
So, now that your superior selling skills have gotten you into Preferred Position, what do you need to do to keep your coveted spot at the top of the customer's resource list?
3 Tips for Maintaining Preferred Position With Customers:
- Stay tuned in. The only constant in this world is that nothing stays the same. The challenges your customers face today are different than the challenges they faced two, three, or five years ago. And their situations will continue to change two, three, or five years down the road. It is essential to stay in touch and hyper-aware of shifting circumstances and challenges that affect your customers and continually bring valued insights and solutions to address those challenges.
- Network within the client organization. It’s in our nature as human beings to want to help others, and in our best interest to bring value to others in our own organization. The customers you are in Preferred Position with are more likely to refer you to others in their organization if they see the benefit of it. Articulate with your primary contact(s) at the account the value you could bring to others in their organization. Successfully networking throughout the client organization increases your credibility, creates more value for the client company, strengthens your relationship with your initial contact(s), benefits their relationships internally, and means more business for you!
- Never stop courting your customer. Customer relationships can be very similar to our personal relationships. Nobody likes to feel as if they're being taken for granted, and we all want to feel appreciated and valued. We need to make our customers feel important and appreciated through our words and actions. Every. Day. Doing so feeds and energizes the customer relationship and prevents it from withering on the vine.
After working so hard to secure Preferred Position, it's not uncommon for sales professionals to rest on their laurels and enjoy the perks of the position. You need to resist that temptation! That would be like training toward a personal fitness goal and then stopping once you reach your goal. How long would you remain in shape? Like any relationship, customer relationships require continual care and feeding (with valued insights and solutions) to stay strong and healthy. To maintain Preferred Position, stay tuned in with your client's business reality and challenges, network within their organization, and never stop courting them.