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Adapt and Capitalize on Existing Opportunities Instead of Churning

Sales organizations win opportunities. Sometimes you unintentionally win nightmare clients, and it is impossible to serve them well.

But other times you win a dream client that is demanding and difficult to serve. These difficult to serve dream clients aren’t on the low end of the business maturity continuum. They aren’t adversarial. They are demanding, and serving them can enable your sales organization to develop new capabilities, new processes, and new offerings.

Instead of doing whatever is necessary to serve these clients, you try to maintain the approach that works for your other smaller, less demanding clients. Your company’s inflexibility or inability to adapt and change to meet the needs of your new, larger dream client causes you to lose the business.

And then you attempt to acquire another dream client in they hope that that they will be less demanding and easier to serve. They won’t be; it’s you.

Love the One You’re With

Your dream client is difficult and demanding. They are going to push you to become the strategic partner that you need to be to serve them, to retain their business, and to create level four value. It isn’t going to be easy, and, in all likelihood, this is why you were chosen.

They are going to demand you best performance. They are going to demand that you hit the metrics outlined in your service level agreement. They are going to expect you to own and deliver the outcomes that you sold and promised.

This means you are going to have to change what you deliver and how you deliver it.

It is your role as the salesperson to lead that change, and leading that change means selling within your own organization. It is more difficult to sell within your own organization than it is to sell outside. Suggesting that your company change the practices, the processes, and the standard operating procedures that allow it to exceed the expectations of other clients doesn’t make you popular.

The status quo has been known to resist even the most valiant change initiatives, and it won’t go down without fight inside your organization either.

Without making the changes necessary to serve and retain your dream client, you lose the client only to begin the long struggle of replacing them. This isn’t how you grow your sales numbers.

A Bird in the Hand

There isn’t an easier dream client. There isn’t a less demanding dream client. There isn’t a special reserve, carefully hidden dream client that provides the opportunity to provide breath-taking, jaw-dropping, earth-shattering value that doesn’t also come with a whole bunch of challenges.

The difficult issues are where value is created; if your dream client were easy to serve without real effort, they could use anybody and achieve the results they need. You become their strategic dream partner by finding a way where others have failed, not by doing work that is equally as poor as the competitor’s that you displaced.

The path to growing your sales is through learning to serve your complex, demanding dream clients. The path to declining sales and declining morale is acquiring dream clients only to lose them through an inability to adapt to their needs.

The next dream client won’t be easier; you would do well to learn to change and adapt in order to serve your existing dream client.

Questions

Are your dream clients more demanding, more complex, and more difficult to serve?

How could your dream client’s complex and complicated needs improve your company and what you deliver?

Why is losing a dream client by failing to meet their needs so damaging to sales growth?

Where does the real sale tend to occur when it comes to delivering for your demanding dream client?


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Comments

comments

  • Arnie Hansma

    Agree…
    Working in automotive manufacturing sector you only ever had a few dream clients, but their demands for service excellence was at times overwhelming but rewarding.
    They pushed you to recognize that even the janitor had equal importance to your success.
    Great article…thanks
    Will pass it on.

    • http://www.santhonyiannarino.com S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Arnie. The big auto manufacturers demand execution and delivery . . . and a 5% reduction in price every year. No easy feat to manage those two conflicting demands.

  • http://womeninbusinessradio.com Michele Price

    This is interesting as I am giving proposals to bigger projects lately I have asked colleagues (and they do not have the answers)  how can you tell when it is a difficult client (the kind you do not want to work-nit picky-uncooperative etc… with VS the client who will ask you to be all you can be for them.

    Being able to discern this in the get to know you phase is important.  Suggestions (thinking another blog post myself chuckle)

    • http://www.thesalesblog.com S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks for the comments, Michele. I think you are right: this is another blog post!



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