One of my customers has a world-beating piece of mission critical software for a specific niche. As such they have a fiercely loyal user-base, with an industry-envied 85% of their sites being reference-able.
As with all niche strategies, possible de-railing issues can crop up, like these three I’ve just learned of in this case, when:
- someone within that target market decides against a tailor-made solution or one that everyone else has,
- they consider themselves to be ‘different’, or
- the key individuals are trying to distance themselves from a previous regime’s thinking.
One measure that the recently installed boss at this client decided upon, was to get on the road and meet as many customers at his level as possible. So far, I understand he’s made such arrangements with two-thirds of customers.
There’s two important selling points here. The first is that a new personality can always earn the benefit of the doubt, and if necessary, a fresh start. If you think a particular account has gone a touch off the boil, then introducing a new person can reinvigorate the corporate relationship. Although prepare them for potentially having to patiently and respectfully sit through a verbal drubbing at first.
As long as you put an agreed action plan for improvement in place and demonstrate progress on it, this renewed impetus can quickly lead to extra sales. Clients like to reward effort and personal focus on them, and in this case, drawing up a “scope of works” to investigate issues, share any pain and put right any misunderstandings, immediately netted a quote process for £150k of margin.