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Complacency In Sales Is Life-threatening

In my 20-years sales management career, winning a contract or being an incumbent supplier on a contract was always bittersweet. First the sweet, as an incumbent or a winner, our firm gets the revenue, profit, and prestige of a large deal. Now the bitter, once we’ve secured that mega-prestigious contract, we must keep it; month-after-month, year-after-year, and contract renewal-after-renewal. 

“A complacent player is a lazy player, and a lazy player is a loser

Sutter, D. (n.d.)

And this entails:

  1. exceeding customers’ expectations (pardon my cliché);
  2. bringing innovative new technologies, cost-savings & enhancements continuously, resenting your performance & value already de:livered in a compelling & memorable fashion and
  3. strategically out pricing your competitors to keep the value high enough for customers to keep you as the incumbent.

As a supplier, it’s always good to know what a life-threatening riptide looks like. Herewith are the top 5 warning signs we must pay attention to, to avoid losing a contract:

  1. Change of George. George is the decision-maker, and if this individual changes in the C-suite, our business is at risk. Engage, relate and discover what are the needs
  2. Change of sales representative. During a long term contract, we establish trustful relationships that, when we move out, the contract can be in danger as soon as we have a new assignment. Take the time to plan a good transition, introduce your new account manager to your contacts and supporters, and finally, have a good account management plan in place
  3. Results perceived by the customer. Value perceived by the customer can be substantially different from your perception. Book quarterly business reviews, document your value and quantify it, and remind the customer frequently why they are paying you
  4. Complacency. It is one of the most dangerous signals. You think that you are set for life, well you are not. Challenge yourself, challenge the customer, create improvement projects. This will keep them engaged
  5. Tenders (RFQ, RFP, RFI) expand abnormally. Well, you know you are not in good waters when suddenly a new tender is published, and suddenly the customer is asking for products and services that you do not provide. The only way to avoid this is to prevent the top 4 risks here mentioned

As a supplier, it’s always good to know what a life-threatening riptide looks like so that you can anticipate, prepare, plan and strike to succeed.

DISCLAIMERThe views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author, and they are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organisation, company, individual or anyone or anything.

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