“We are losing our battle with all that is personal and real about our business. Every day I can look at a list of phone calls only partially returned. Driving home, I think of what was not accomplished, instead of what was accomplished. The gnawing feeling continues.”
This is part of Jerry Maguire’s mission statement from the 1996 movie of the same name starring Tom Cruise. Maguire got on a roll in his Miami hotel when looking at writing a one page mission statement which ended up being 25 pages.
The basic message was that to be successful in business, particularly the service industry, the focus should not be on the number of clients you can attract, but on the strength of relationships and quality of service. In Maguire’s case it was looking after fewer star athletes to better service the athletes he had.
A personal story.
After many years taking care of a company’s major clients, one day I found myself in trouble.
Like all good sales companies, they kept records of performance and determined expectations from these surveys of results.
The average ‘field rep’ had a ‘close ratio’ of 1:4 [for every 4 new business presentations they made, 1 person bought].
The average sale value was around $3500.
You do the maths – require each of the 4 field reps to make 1 new business presentation each weekday and you would swell your gross sales (on top of all the renewals they did) by $70,000 each month – 75% of which would renew next time and stick around.
The company therefore set a KPI [Key Performance Indicator] for those of us ‘in the field’ of one new business presentation every day.
I rarely achieved this. Oops!
I received warnings; I even got to a second warning letter, regarding my ‘poor ‘ new business results.
[They were threatening to sack me, if I didn’t improve!]
This forced me to take a good look at the results I was achieving and why.
The analysis astounded me. Why?
1. I qualified every prospect heavily on the phone, before going out to make a presentation and
2. I had honed my presentation down to be the smoothest presentation that thoroughly met the needs of each unique prospect,
My Close ratio was less than 1:2 Why?
1. I Screened each client to check that they shared the same attitude to people and quality work as I did and
2. They were ‘on the ball’ enough, and experienced in business enough, to afford what I had to offer and
3. I offered a premium service (it's called Delighting the Customer) and boldly sold the most expensive advertising packages in the company.
How to upsell your clients
My average sale value was over $8000; my renewal rate was also the highest in the company up over 90%.
[After pointing out these results to the company, they got off my back about one new business presentation per day.]
[I hate blowing my own trumpet but it's only to illustrate what you can do.]
Why did this happen?
Less (clients) is more (value)
My success was because I was determined to find business owners that I ‘connected’ with. Who had similar attitudes to Integrity, Passion and Accountability as I did.
I was picky. I still am.
But they were loyal (to me) and spent heaps, because they trusted me.
Trust like that, had to be earnt.
To have genuinely strong relationships, you need fewer clients.
[That is the big idea of the 10 session 'The Secrets of Getting In' programme – Less is More]
To better understand your client you need to spend time to understand and generate genuine insights so you can offer a better service. The philosophy is that if you genuinely give a damn about your clients, you will have good relationships, do great work, and then the dollars will follow… and clients will be loyal.
But, if you start with maximising the dollars, clients and team members get treated as a means to an end, which could potentially result in weaker relationships, weaker work and ultimately, a higher turnover of staff and subsequently clients as a result.
That is exactly what happened when that company and I parted company in 2008
The client loyalty was so strong towards me, that my clients came over to the new startup I was helping launch.
Hang onto your seat for part 2 of this story.
Till next time,
© Paul Johnson 2013 Missing Piece Marketing
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