Woody Allen is quoted as saying “80% of success is showing up”.
I get it; we are all busy and time is a precious resource. Nonetheless, we must remember to stay connected with customers and friends. The past two weeks have been crazy busy. Apparently, all those who lost my phone number found it again.
One morning I awoke to the thought that I hadn’t talked to a long ago client in quite some time. What the heck, I thought, I’ll just give him a call and see how he’s doing. I knew his company had added some territory and salespeople. He answered his phone using my name as a greeting. We exchanged family and then business updates. It was a warm friendly catch up call.
As we were wrapping up he commented that he was perplexed with the slow growth of his sales in this growing economy. His pipeline was beyond full, but nothing seemed to be closing. He was stumped. I told him about a recent client and some the solutions we implemented. He was immediately interested and invited me to come to meet his VP of Sales and have lunch.
As it turns out their sales process was inconsistent and disjointed. As a result some projects with a high probability of closing were not even close to closure. Others with lower assigned probability had been – not surprisingly – lost to competition.
We spent a few hours with the sales team to get everyone aligned. Then we cleaned dead opportunities out the sales funnel. Now the sales team could concentrate on fewer and better opportunities. The result was almost immediate. Business began to close and sales picked up.
This is why it is so important to stay in touch with past customers; even those where you lost the last piece of business. In this situation, the timing was perfect. If I had not reached out to this past client I may never have had the opportunity to help them again.
Follow your customers on LinkedIn, Google Alerts and new media. When you discover something is happening at those customers; reach out!
When I hear of significant changes at my clients, I will try to set up a face-to-face meeting, even if it is a short meeting. If the client is far away, this is good reason to line up a couple other calls in the area. Remember what Woody Allen said “success is 80% showing up”. You don’t know what you are missing if you ignore past customers. Make that effort to SHOW UP!
Sales quote: “Learn to help people with more than just their jobs; help them with their lives.”