If you have only one contact at an account, you are in a most vulnerable position. Changes do occur. People move on. Promotions happen. Structures change. Reorganizations are initiated. And so on and so on and so on...
So when your key sales contact leaves, will you be ready?
The challenge is to broaden your base at your accounts and develop new relationships now, before your contact leaves. We suggest you need to establish as many contacts as possible. The more people know and the more relationships you have, the more solid your position.
Now, this can be tricky. You don’t want to give your primary contact the impression that you are going over his or her head. But at the same time, you want to build relationships with other key people.
Many successful salespeople will use their primary contact to make this happen. They explain how they want to be more thorough or gain a better understanding of the needs of the organization. To do that they need to meet more people. So quite often the primary contact is asked to set up the introductions.
Sure, it won’t always happen this way. But it’s worth a try. You don’t want to do anything to put your relationship with the key contact at risk. So think of it as a way to empower them. Ask them to help. Usually they will come through for you.
Don’t do this arbitrarily. Identify people you would like to see. Think about how appropriate it would be to ask to meet those people. Some clients will want you all over the C-Suite. Others won’t let you get off the elevator. Think it through and make the decision. You will be right much more often than you will be wrong.
It’s all about being visible. The more often you visit your clients, the more opportunities you will have to meet and build relationships with key players at those accounts. It is in your hands. Broaden that base and you will be much more secure as you attempt to win new business. Security leads to confidence. Confident salespeople are successful salespeople.
So before you leave for the Thanksgiving holiday, make a phone call to that person you met a few months ago and wanted to call but you haven’t yet gotten around to it. You have absolutely nothing to lose, and a lot to gain.
About the Author:
Tom French is a Managing Director of Sales and Marketing at The Baron Group. He has over 25 years experience in the sales and delivery of skill development training programs.