Is your customer’s sprinkler leaking?

Is your customer’s sprinkler leaking?

I have been following Nick Miller the President of Clarity Advantage for years (close to 20 years). He has been publishing advice about sales on a weekly basis and has earned my respect for creating glimpses of examples in life that teach the philosophy of sales. Nick is based in Concord, MA. He assists banks and credit unions to generate more and more profitable relationships, faster, with business clients, their owners, and their employees.

If you are not subscribed to Nick’s newsletter, you should be.

Most of his stories start with “In which we are …”.

Here is one of his latest articles. This particular article comes with the preamble:

In which we are reminded to meet routinely with our clients, certainly with our most significant clients, so we can anticipate and address challenges early rather than waiting for them to call us once there’s a breakdown.

One summer, a few years ago, during my morning drives to work, I noticed pools of water on the road asphalt along one side of the square. Morning after morning, water – twenty or thirty gallons, maybe – pooled in the road.

“Sprinkler head must be broken,” I’d think as I drove past the square each morning.

After several weeks of this, my internal dialog shifted to, “I wonder why someone doesn’t notice the water and fix the sprinkler? Surely they must inspect these things?” And then, as more time passed, to “I should call someone about that.”

Never mind that I’d had the thought, somehow I would forget or it would seem like too much work to figure out who to call. So, I did nothing, expecting that SOMEONE in the town maintenance department would figure this out and fix it.

Finally, one morning, I called them.

“Oh,” they said, “thank you so very much for calling. We didn’t know about it.”

And they fixed it that same day. No more road water. After several thousand gallons wasted.

My memory of this was prompted last week when I noticed a broken sprinkler on a baseball field past which I drive. Five outfield sprinklers functioning perfectly and, from the sprinkler on the first base line – water shooting 30 feet STRAIGHT up into the air. Tuesday morning… Wednesday morning…Thursday morning.

“Why doesn’t anybody notice this?”, I wondered. “Don’t they inspect these systems?”

Nobody inspects these things. I called them on Thursday morning.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: We (as sales people) should be inspecting these things with and for our clients. We put our relationships and sales opportunities at risk if we don’t. Why wait until clients call to tell us “they have water in the road” or some other problem we could fix?

Instead, set up routine ‘inspections’ – “Annual Relationship Reviews,” “Quarterly Reviews,” “Monthly Check Points” – with clients, frequency based on their circumstances, rates of change, and risk of loss, so we can anticipate and address problems before our clients lose thousands of gallons or dollars or hours of time.

Photo by mccun934

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