If you manage a sales territory, have a customer base that needs constant care and feeding and you think they will hang in with you because you have the best product, the best service and the lowest prices, you are smoking your lunch.
Everyone can be had. Every loyal customer can be lured away by some desperate, scheming, competitor.
You will suffer the “I love you buts… that comes when they give you the jilt. (You know the look)
If it’s not your inside coach at the account, it will be some bean counter who only knows you from a spreadsheet.
You will sit at the edge of your bed in the dark and kiss your bonus, your status and that silly reward trip they give you at the end of the year good bye.
You will suffer in silence as your legend runs down your leg.
Unless….. you get the opportunity to roll around in the dirt with them. It can come in the form of a service failure, an unpopular price increase or a product recall. The worse, the better.
Now you gotta fight. Your back will be up against the wall as your territory goes into its death throes. The stage will go dark.
It happened to me with a large hospital group. They were planning to dump us in the dark of night for lower pricing. It had been in the works for months.
Now I had to put up, or shut up. I made blistering presentations that looked like the closing scene in “And Justice For All.”
It was all opportunity…. and my big mouth.
I got the chance to remind them who grew their business, who drove and delivered their product through the night (almost got fired for that one). All the education I brought in, all the venues I hosted.
I even fought my own company on their behalf.
I risked it all and told them to go and experience what they would be missing. I even extolled the virtues of the company culture from which I sprang.
The one that gave a lowly dock worker a chance to manage a huge geography despite his lack of formal training because of his customer focus.
That’s why I love trouble. You should too. You should plan for it and suck the life out of every opportunity to remind your customers what you do for them every day.
Things that wouldn’t have ordinarily come up in day to day conversation. My battles reverberated through Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.
It’s a huge opportunity to show how good you are and why they are fortunate to be doing business with you. I bear many scars but I have never lost a battle.
So dig in and get your ammo ready. Keep lists of all the things you do for them. Set up quarterly meeting to toot your horn and educate them.
And when you get your clusterfuck, thank your lucky stars.
Because after the smoke clears, you and your customer will be closer than ever. They will have seen a side of you they never saw before.
Experience the joy of battle because nobody gets a medal in peace time. But you do get your mettle tested.
Yeah, T-R-O-U-B-L-E with a capital T.