Customer Retention: The Four Open Doors

Access this free 9-minute video now and learn how your competitors are planning to steal most valuable accounts – and what you can do to stop them. Discover:

  • How competitors are able to slip in and steal customers away without you noticing until its too late
  • The four vulnerable points, or “open doors”, that competitors will exploit to steal your customers
  • Questions you can ask yourself to find the weak spots in your customer relationships
The Four Open Doors of Sales

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Here’s how it works: Request your “Four Open Doors” training video now and we’ll email you a user name and password that gives you instant access to the Selling Essentials Rapid Learning Center. There you’ll find your free training video and a collection of other training resources for sales professionals. You’ll have unlimited access to this powerful library of e-learning modules, reports and fast-read articles for 30 days.


More information for those who love the details …

How competitors sneak in and steal your customers

You might work hard to manage your accounts and deliver good service. But caught up in the day-to-day details, it’d be easy to stop noticing all the ways a competitor can break into your business.

Try this exercise to get a fresh look at where your accounts might be vulnerable. Think of your top three accounts. For each one, answer these questions:

  1. If I didn’t have this business, how would I get it?
  2. How would I find the decision makers?
  3. What would I say to get an appointment?
  4. Where would I identify an unmet need?

Those are the doors you need to close.

A competitor can get to your customer in countless ways. And you can’t prevent them all. But you can make it harder for the competition. Like a burglar, they’ll try the most obvious doors first. And if they can’t get in, they may give up and move on to easier pickings.

There are four critical Open Doors in sales – points of entry that are most likely to leave accounts vulnerable. Consider whether any of these doors are open on your accounts – and what you have to do to close them.

Door #1: Changes in the business

Business never stays in the same place. Markets change. People change. And every change creates a new opportunity for a competitor to gain access to your account.

To find out if changes in your customer’s business are putting your relationship with them at risk, ask yourself these questions:

  • How is my customer’s business different than it was a year ago? How will it be different a year from now? Do my products and services deliver at least as much value as before?
  • Is my customer’s business expanding? Are their needs changing as a result? Are my solutions scalable – and does the customer know it?
  • Is the customer’s business consolidating? Downsizing could threaten your sales volume, of course. But there’s another risk: your buyer’s company will likely be reviewing every purchase and considering alternatives. Are you offering those alternatives or leaving them for an outsider?

Door #2: Relationships

Your relationship with your contact may be solid as a rock. But it could blow up at any time. Your critical relationship is with the company, not with any one person. To determine the strength of your relationship with a customer, ask yourself the following questions:

  • In addition to my primary contact, who has the authority to hire my competitor? Who else influences that decision? When was the last time I spoke to them?
  • What would happen if my primary contact found a new job or got laid off? Who would be responsible for approving my orders? What’s my relationship with him or her?
  • Who in the organization uses my product or service? Have I sought out their feedback?
  • Who’s affected by the results of my product or service?

Access your free video now and learn what you can do to ensure your most valuable customers aren’t looking elsewhere.

Door #3: After-sale service

Back-end service is easy to overlook, especially when you’re spending your time landing new assignments. It’s often the little problems that create an opening – the ones you never hear about until it’s too late. Here are questions to ask to find out if the service you’re promising matches what they buyer is receiving:

  • Are deliveries on time? Is anything on back order? Have we ever said, “No, we don’t have that”?
  • If someone has a complaint about my product or service, do I get the first call, or does someone else?
  • Does my customer know how to reach me if there’s an emergency? Do other stakeholders know how to reach me? In an emergency, you’ll be the first vendor your customer calls. If you’re not available or can’t help, your competitor will get the second call.

Door #4: Price

By far the largest open door is pricing. A satisfied customer may routinely pay your invoices without a second thought – until your price goes up or a competitor comes along with a better one.

It’s best to be proactive on price. Don’t assume buyers aren’t paying attention to price just because they haven’t brought it up. Initiate a conversation to let them know why you charge what you do. You never want to hear that your price was too high after you’ve lost the customer.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I know my competitor’s current pricing?
  • Do I understand my competitor’s pricing strategy? For example, do they come in with a low price and then raise prices later?
  • If I knew my customer had a proposal from my competitor on his or her desk right now, what would I do differently? Always assume your customer is considering other options.
  • Am I sure my customer understands my value proposition? If his or her boss asked why we charge more than competitors, could my customer explain it right now?

Here’s the key point: Check the doors to your accounts regularly. Without a routine, it’s easy to forget about an unlocked door – until it’s too late.

Access your free video now as part of a free 30-day trial to the Selling Essentials Rapid Learning Center.

Sincerely,

Steve Meyer
Stephen Meyer
CEO/Director of Learning and Development, The Rapid Learning Institute

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