Thursday, March 12, 2009

Warning: Your Competition Is Calling Your Clients

Economic tough times are continuing to impact business. Most companies are continuing along their path, albeit with some bumps in the road, but the uncertainty is causing everyone to get more aggressive with their business development efforts.

It seems everyone I talk with is re-focused on establishing new contacts in their business communities (networking has become very popular again.... although my opinion is it should ALWAYS be popular, as it does not work if you turn "networking" on and off based on the economic conditions!) and there is laser beam attention on all activities that can be considered "revenue generating".

This is all good. Our economic engine is driven by the corporate world and the amazingly intelligent and hard working people in every industry. Raising revenues for companies will get this ball rolling again. We all need that ball to start rolling!

But with the focus on new relationships it is imperative that your company not forget your existing customers. While your sales team is hitting the street chasing new business, you must remember that those prospects are you competitions current clients. While you pounce on their customers and referral sources, do not forget that they are doing the same thing. The difference is that their prospects are YOUR customers.

All customers are going to be interested in listening to any vendor who can save them money in this environment, so be clear that they are inviting your competitors into their offices to hear their proposals right this very moment.

Thus, while you are looking hard to uncover new business, do not neglect your existing clients. Hopefully you have always actively established strong bonds with customers. While it is easy to fire a vendor, it is hard to fire a friend! But in rough times, this becomes more tricky. Value matters more that never.

Continue to reach out to your client base and offer them value. Host them for educational seminars, send them occasional information that will make their lives easier, and meet with them regularly to ensure that you are delivering to all their needs. Look for unique and creative ways to bring them more than they expect from you!

If your only contact with your customers is to provide the work you are hired to do, and then sending them a monthly invoice, you are vulnerable to any competition who can provide them with any little extra.

Have A Great Day.

thom

1 comment:

Ari Herzog said...

Forget competition calling clients. How come more companies aren't referring prospective clients *to the* competition?

For context, see my take at http://ariwriter.com/2008/12/do-you-send-business-to-your-competition/