Last week I talked with a client who thought we used computer dialers to deliver messages.
It seems like an impossible thing to believe, given the number of years that we have built our differentiation from a ground zero of NOT using computer dialers, but actually confusion can happen quite easily. There are many clients for whom we have worked for several years and with staff turnover, we regularly inherit new main contacts- or I guess you could say employees regularly inherit us as a new vendor.
It happens a lot with a great many customer/vendor relationships.
New contacts are using a service for a specific series of tasks, because we’ve been added to their job description or they’ve been directed to use that supplier because they already work with their company, but they’ve never been sold on using that service by the vendor.
While I love being grandfathered in once in a while, it occurred to me that in never trying to actively communicate the benefits of our service to new contacts, within existing and often long term clients, we’re doing them and eventually ourselves a major disservice.
By not “selling” your current contacts on the value you offer and making sure that they have a full understanding of what you do, how and why you do it….and why they buy from you, you deny them the opportunity to take advantage of your help when faced with a new and potentially unrelated challenge. They won’t be able to make the leap to see how you can fit in to a different situation.
By not completely communicating the value, you place your contacts in the potential position of using your product or service and not being able to adequately defend that decision should a management change result in program or supplier reviews. “Because (your predecessor) told me to do this” is not the kind of answer that will endear a marketing program manager to their next department head. While their careers are certainly not in our hands, I’d rather not be a reason they were reviewed poorly.
I find a small irony here, given all the marketing play to the concept that most buyers don’t want to talk to a rep until they’ve more or less already made up their mind about what to buy. So it’s easy to understand how ensuring that ALL the contacts within a long standing account have a complete understanding of your value might not be a big priority with the sales team. But it should be. The competition will step into your shoes if you’re nice enough to leave them empty for long and that junior marketing coordinator who is charged with executing the details without being given the benefit of buying into all of them may very well be making those decisions one day – here or some where else.
Respect every contact you have and be certain they’re completely educated about your company. It’s only fair.
By not communicating our value, our contacts will not defend us, or the decision to use us. We will be vulnerable to our competitors, no matter how unscrupulous or inferior they are.