I hear it all the time, “I need an excuse to get back into the customer. Let me get them that case study, that reference, that white paper, anything that allows me to meet with them one more time.” Creating excuses to get back into the customer is nothing but old sales mythology. It does nothing to serve us or the customer.
We’re all desperate to find customers willing to talk to us, willing to consider buying. Once we find them, once we have a meeting, we won’t let go. We want any excuse we can to get back into the customer, to keep having meetings. Sometimes we design our meetings to create an excuse for another meeting. All this does is take time–our time and the customer’s. All this does is lengthen the sales cycle–maybe we’re just postponing the inevitable “No,” but in the least it lengthens the sales cycle.
We should stop creating excuses to see the customer. In fact, we should do everything we can to reduce the number of meetings we need to have with the customer. We should be compressing as much as reasonable into fewer meetings–we improve our productivity, more importantly we use the customer’s time much more effectively. We have the opportunity to compress the buying/selling cycle–helping the customer realize the benefits far sooner.
As we execute our sales process and our opportunity strategies, we will have a series of meetings. We don’t need to create an excuse for additional meetings. Each meeting needs to be focused and purposeful, enabling the customer to move through their sales process and us to move through the buying process. Both the customer and we are better off with fewer, but impactful meetings, not unnecessary meetings.
“But if we do that, how do we get back in to see the customer when we need to?”
Here’s where the magic comes in. If we stop creating excuses to get back into the customer, instead, try to reduce the number of times we need to see the customer–using their time much more effectively; we will always be able to get back into the customer when we need to. See customers are smart, they get it. They know you will never waste their time. That when you are calling them, when you are asking for a meeting, it must be because you have something that is worth their investment in time. We don’t need artificial excuses to get back in to see them.
Getting back in to the customer is never a problem if you create value in every interchange you have with them. They will always be willing to see you because of that value you create.
You only need excuses when you stop creating value. When you have nothing real to say, but you want to see them, you want to talk, you want to waste their time. That’s why it’s tough to see customers.
Do your customers a favor. Don’t look for excuses to get back in. Spend your time trying to figure out how you can accomplish more, each time you see them–using their time well and yours. They’ll get it, they’ll appreciate it. They’ll reward you by opening their offices whenever you have something important to talk to them about.