The final instalment in a series of short, practical articles on successful account management.
In this final post in the series on successful account management I want to touch on trust, being genuine and knowing your clients. Great account managers know their clients and have a relationship built on trust. The account manager listens and learns about the client’s business and delivers products and services that fit those needs. They demonstrate they understand the client by presenting products and services that they know are of value to the client. They take a genuine interest in the client knowing that successful, long term business relationships are built on honesty and integrity. They also know when they don’t have something suitable to sell at the time, and will be honest about it. Other opportunities will come up. Selling something you don’t truly believe will benefit a client may result in a one-off sale, however they may never buy again, and they certainly will never be an Advocate Client.
In ensuring your client buys everything of value you have to offer, it’s important to have an ongoing account development plan in place, rather than focusing on a single opportunity strategy. Not a short-term focus on the next opportunity, but an overall account strategy. Perhaps even shared with your client. Ongoing sales to clients to meet their ongoing needs makes them more successful and increases your profits. A win win.
In the previous posts I talked about understanding the client’s business, goals and challenges, it’s also important to understand the client’s buying cycle; are they able to buy now or are they committed elsewhere, is budget available or will it need to be requested? Can you assist them in building the business case required to get budget? What else is needed to move them to the buy stage in the cycle?
It is also important to understand that individuals have personal drivers, when a good account manager builds relationships, they become aware of some of these personal drivers (some will never be revealed) and can factor these into the value proposition – when it also makes good sense for the client organisation. For example, making them look good by delivering a result that benefits the business.
Providing genuine value to clients builds trust which leads to open communication where the client readily shares their business challenges and goals, enabling the account manager to work with them to provide solutions. This ongoing cycle not only helps your clients succeed and delivers greater sales for your business, but it’s also easier and less expensive than replacing them with new clients.
If you would like to discuss how your account management team can be more effective, become trusted advisors and retain more clients, please contact me to arrange a time to discuss.
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