Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I’ll take that one step further and say it’s really insane if you make a mistake and turn around to make the same mistake, again and again. A mistake is only an irreversible error if you don’t learn a valuable lesson from it.
In business, as in life, we all make mistakes. How we correct our errors is what makes us stronger in the long run. For example, I’ve noticed that some medium and large size companies make a critical mistake when they lose a sales person who served a client’s account and go on to presume that, because of their size and a good (I say “good” not “great”) relationship with the client, the relationship will continue as before, and even grow, despite the loss of that sales person. The mistake companies make is in not taking the time to personally notify the client’s senior executives of the sales person’s departure. Worse: they put off making any contact and just let things coast along.
We learned this lesson well several years ago. When we lost some key sales people we heard that their accounts had felt under served. At that time, our key executives didn’t have an ear to what was being said about Shamrock among the clients’ C-Suite executives.
It’s inevitable to lose employees, including significant sales staff. But now, when we lose a sales person we take one of our general managers and put him or her immediately in touch with each decision-maker on the salesperson’s client roster. We let nothing fall through the cracks. We arrange to meet with each client’s key executives within 24 hours of a sales person’s departure and discuss their needs and our assurance to invest in their business.
In fact, in 2013 we have dedicated a commitment to know just as much as our sales people do about each of our clients. We have pledged, as a company, to hold everyone — especially our key executives — responsible to be involved with our clients. We come to them with innovative ideas we believe may help their bottom line. We continually ask our clients self-challenging questions like, “How are we doing with the management of your business?” “Is there something we should be doing that we’re not?”
In the 20th Century this commitment to present and potential clients was called networking. Today we call it survival. The lesson learned here is that having your key executives accountable for being actively involved and making a significant investment to build relationships with clients is the means to growing your business in the new economy.
ONE FINAL THOUGHT…
Business owners and their executives must be as invested in their clients as the sales team is. Fully invested… financially, personally and philosophically! This investment must be communicated to our clients as well as our sales team. Such a commitment will ensure a long term relationship for the company, the sales team and our clients. These are values to share, and to keep.