Every single one of us is focused on new business. And we should be. For the last few years, I’ve been saying that new business will be the way we’re all judged in the future… and I mean all of us… AE’s, managers, group leaders and, yes, even sales consultants.
But I’ve had a realization recently that has made me think. What about old business? Are there customers who could still be buying from us but that we’re missing because of lack of a sales effort, or even worse, indifference?
Here’s what stimulated these thoughts.
One of the Jim Doyle & Associates Senior Marketing Consultants runs an ad agency when he’s not working for us. He has a client in a major market who spends well over $1M on TV, and even more on digital. Yet, one of the big network affiliates has NEVER made a sales call on his agency or his client. Talk about low-hanging fruit. That’s unconscionable to me.
I’m pretty sure that the sales leaders of this station have mentioned new business more than a few times in their sales meetings. However, here’s a client spending significant money in the market who’s never even been called on. That makes me believe… just a hunch… that there are other clients with the same situation. I’m guessing the station is under-performing, and I think we know part of the reason why. It’s one thing to have an unsuccessful sales effort – that happens all the time to all of us. But no effort at all? OUCH.
I’ve also had some personal experience lately with salesperson indifference. My wife, Paula, and I bought a car a year ago from a salesperson who impressed me, yet we’ve never heard from him again.
Then, in 2014, we bought a home in Sedona. Like many of you, I’ve bought and sold more than a few homes in my life, and our real estate agent was the best I’ve ever used. From the start to the closing of the transaction, his work was impeccable. To say we were impressed would be a huge understatement. We both really liked this guy.
But, in the four years since we closed, we’ve never heard from him. Not a call or a note or even a holiday card – and I think he’s made a huge business mistake.
It’s inevitable that some day we’ll sell this house. Four years ago, it was an absolute lock that our agent would get that listing. Today? While I still remember the work that he did for us with respect, I don’t particularly have any loyalty to him. So, I’m pretty sure we’ll be listening to other Realtors’ thoughts if we ever decide to sell.
How much has this mistake cost him? Well, consider this. We’re told that a third of the people who move to Sedona leave within three years because they find that living there was different than being there on vacation. Fortunately, that’s not us. We love it. But, I’m sure this Realtor is losing a lot of opportunities for the profitable listing side of his business. That’s the cost of indifference.
I write frequently in this space about my feeling that our industry MUST make customers important again. As ad agencies (who are NOT our customers) have gotten in the middle of more and more of our client relationships, we’ve lost touch with our clients. We’re paying a price for that. We have too many customers whom we don’t know on any kind of deeper level. So, I wonder how many of those clients have, like me, lost loyalty because of a perception that we’re indifferent about them and their business.
Yes, in our crazy-busy lives, this is hard. We’re so focused on next month’s or next quarter’s pacing that we lose a bigger perspective. It happens to all of us. But finding the time to make sure our clients know how important they are to us is more important than ever.
The legendary Zig Ziglar used to say, “Nobody cares how much you know, ‘til they know how much you care.” I think it’s time to show clients we care about their business.
New business. Incredibly important. But let’s not forget about old business. It pays a few bills as well.
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