They always call after 5:00 or on Friday afternoon!
You know the ones I’m talking about – you dread their calls. That twisted feeling in the pit of your stomach comes back every time their name gets mentioned.
And it’s a good 4 hours to calm down after your call.
The amount of time and energy needed to attempt to resolve their issues and satisfy their requests are way out of proportion to the revenue they generate for you.
Nothing you do or say is correct to them. And the cycle keeps repeating itself.
You’re caught between a rock and a hard place. You and your organization are scared to lose the revenue.
Let’s look at what makes a problem account. In my experience, there are four reasons for this type of disconnect:
- The proper expectations, for both sides, were not set between your organization (this includes YOU) and the prospect/customer. Customer perceptions can include product, support, documentation, response times, pricing, access to upper management, and technical expertise.
- The customer is really not the right fit for your organization. They should not have been allowed to become a client in the first place. Is their expectation of what your product needs to do or should do is out of alignment with what it really can? Or is it more cultural issues
- You simply have a problem customer. Some can never be satisfied, and some require way too much time, energy, and attention for the value they bring. They might have seemed like the correct customer in the beginning. Usually, this is more of a people issue than a product fit issue.
- You are not managing the customer properly. It is the job of the salesperson, in many organizations, to ensure the top three reasons do not occur. You cannot accomplish this alone. However, you are the quarterback and the internal coach. It’s part of the job.
Unless the margin that they contribute so greatly outweighs the cost of maintaining them, you need to consider firing them and replacing them with new, more aligned customers.
The long-term stress and distractions these types of customers can create are not worth the time and energy.
The old 80/20 rule does apply…
80% of your business will come from 20% of your accounts while 20% of your accounts will consume 80% of your resources.
The better able you are to manage this mix of accounts, the more efficient and effective you will become.
The main role of a salesperson is to find opportunities that are in alignment with their organization’s product and service capabilities, support constraints, profitability parameters, and culture.
If you can’t make your account a Raving Fan you need to rethink that account.
If your time is spent in contentious discussions and mismatched expectations, you’re spending valuable time in the wrong place.
Think about a Red Velvet Rope Policy. Whether your organization has one or not, you should. It’s your time and it’s your family’s money.