Customers and Contacts: Relationships and Influence
Are you focussing on the right contacts in your key accounts? Are you dealing with them effectively?
How strong is your relationship with your customers and contacts? How well do they know you?
How much power and influence do they have in their organisation's buying decisions?
If your company has a strong relationship and positive image with decision makers, there is more likelihood that you can win orders without a contest or by negotiation. If you have no relationship, price is your sole weapon. And that price will need to be very low to overcome the buyer's risk concerns.
It can be a salutory exercise to plot your key contacts on this chart. Classify your customers and contacts according to where they sit in terms of the strength of relationship between them and you and your organisation and the amount of power and influence they hold over the decisions that affect you.
You can then start to develop action plans within your Key Account Plans to address the issues and opportunities that arise.
Strong relationship/High Power and Influence
Nurture - Don’t take these ideal contacts for for granted. Stay close; Offer free advice and support as they need it; Ask for testimonials; Use as an introducer to new potential customers and to help convince others.
Strong relationship/Low Power and Influence
Support - Offer free advice to help boost their influence and your reputation and move them towards the "Nurture" group. Use as introducer to other people within their organisation.
Weak relationship/High Power and Influence
Develop - This is a priority group to target. Find out why the relationship isn't strong and address those issues. Get introduced. If they have doubts about your capabilities try to use others and their testimonials to convince them. Provide information and support where you can. Move towards "Nurture".
Weak relationship/Low Power and Influence
Watch - Ignore this group at your peril. They may gain power and influence over time. Allow access to the information provided to the "Support" group as and when appropriate.
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