10. Why do you lose business?

What is the easiest way for a competitor to take a customer away from you? Why do you lose accounts to your competitors?

Here are some reasons that sound good: Our service isn't up to par.  Our prices are too high.  We have too many out-of-stocks.  My competitor is better known in my market.

I have a surprise for you.  When you lose an account it is mostly due to one reason. I would say that 95% of all the accounts you lose to a competitor are for this single reason!  This single reason will enable you to take away more business from your competitor than you can handle.

It's easier than you think.   Here's why.  Your competitors are taking their customers for granted. I guarantee it! Let me say that again in capital letters...


And do you know what else?  So are you - I know, I know - you don't want to hear that. It's true - you know it and I know it.

Lets put it to the test.  Do you feel appreciated? Probably not.  Would you like a little appreciation?   If your answer is yes - you are not alone.  In a recent survey 6,600 people were asked two questions:

1. Do you receive as much praise, recognition and appreciation as you feel you deserve?

6,415 SAID NO

2. Would you perform your job better if you were given more praise, recognition and appreciation?

6,495 SAID YES

This, of course, doesn't apply to you-you are in sales - it is up to you to GIVE appreciation not GET it.  The point is - most people feel unappreciated.

Here's more proof - a real-life example:  I was helping a small foodservice distributor look for a way to promote their business.  We thought about a food show, however, due to the small size of the company we felt that it would be too big of an undertaking. After a lot of talking we finally came up with a program we called a "customer appreciation dinner."

We contacted 20 of his suppliers and asked them to participate by serving dinner to the customers and at the same giving them the opportunity to show samples of their products.  All the suppliers agreed and we put together a buffet line concept with the theme being that we want to show our customers that we appreciate their business.

We decided to use an RSVP format so we would know how many people would show up, and we could tell the suppliers how many people they could plan on feeding.  We arranged to have the dinner at a Holiday Inn with a room large enough to hold 108 people at one time.

We sent out 525 invitations expecting to get about 200 RSVPs.  The invitation said, "When was the last time someone took you to dinner to show you how much they appreciate your business?"

Not knowing the power of our theme, "Customer Appreciation Dinner", we had 525 RSVPs!  We had to turn the tables FIVE TIMES during the evening.  Every restaurant in the small southern town was closed with a sign on the door saying "Closed - we went out for dinner."

The normal procedure is to get an account, wine and dine them during the honeymoon period, and then put them on autopilot.   You are guilty of it, aren't you? Admit it.

How can you take away business from a competitor?  Here's the secret.  Get a small order from your competitor’s customer and then show that you REALLY appreciate their business.  Too simple? - You WILL stand out and be noticed.

Sure, you gave the customer a discount - THEY should appreciate YOU!  Your customer is the one who writes out those big checks every week - they are not thinking about how much they appreciate the small discount they got - they are wondering if YOU appreciate the amount of business THEY are giving YOU.

Your customers pay your mortgage, put your kids through school, make your car payments, pay for your retirement plan.  Your top twenty customers - Do you thank them enough?  Do you show them that you appreciate their business?  More than likely the answer is no.

Give your customers the attention and appreciation they are hungry for.  Give your prospects the attention and appreciation they are not getting from their current supplier and you will take away the business.

Few things are more gratifying than gratitude, and very few sales people express their gratitude as much as they should.

Appreciation can go a lot farther than just saying thank you.  How many thank you notes did you send last year?  Your competitors are not doing it. It's the little messages of gratitude that will make a big difference.

I was sitting in a buyer’s office when a fax came in for him.  He seemed a little upset so I asked him if there was anything wrong.  He said a salesman had just left with a  large order and he just faxed a thank you note.

I thought that was pretty good for a salesperson to take the time to send a thank you fax.  However, the buyer said he was going to cancel the order, but because of the thank you note it became too difficult to call and cancel.

You never know what insurance your thank you notes, follow up phone calls and extra attention is providing.  Here is more proof.

Headquarters wanted to know why a small pizza shop was performing way beyond everyone's expectations.  They were number one in a large national chain – yet located in a small town with a lot of competition.   When they investigated they found that before closing they would go through their deliveries and call everyone to make sure their pizza was good!

CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT?  A thank you call from a PIZZA SHOP?

I just bought a new house.  After the closing, I never heard a peep from the broker - nothing - zero!  I even had to call his office and tell them to come and get their sign out of my yard!

No - Service is not the reason you lose business.

No - Price is not the reason you lose business.

No - Your competitor's image in the market is not the reason.

No - it's none of those things.

The reason you lose, on average TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT OF YOUR BUSINESS EVERY YEAR is because you didn't listen to your mother when she told you to say "Thank You."

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