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Maintain your Client/Vendor Relationships
When I am “courting” a new customer I know that I need to earn their trust first. There are several ways I have found to do this and none of them will cost you or your clients anything.
On a car lot I will do things like: bring in Dealer plates, that have been left inside cars, to the Manager (not the receptionist or the salesmen), let the Manager know if a car has a flat tire, brake problems, a cracked windshield, items broken beyond repair, or other serious car issues. This shows the Manager you are trying to help him move that car and not trying to charge them anything for it. It shows you are part of their team. If the Manager asks “Why you are doing this?”, tell the truth. You have already seen that car and done all you can do. You need it to be sold and make room for another car that you can work on. This way you become an ally of the Manager because that is what he is trying to do everyday. Not only is he trying to move those cars off the lot, he is trying to in every way to convince “his team” (the sales force) to do the same. They may only be interested in their check. You, however, have shown him that you are aligning yourself with his goals. One of his main goals is moving cars off the lot. It is a constant part of a viscous sales cycle. How long has this car been on the lot? Why isn’t it moving? What do I have to do to sell it to a buyer? You are helping him solve that problem. You are not asking for anything monetarily. You just want the car to move and telling him what is wrong with it.
In a restaurant I will advise the customer based on what is in their best interest. They may ask if I can repair rather than recover something. I will tell them the truth. I can repair the booth back and it will hold up because it is in a low traffic area, and the same kind of contact is unlikely in the future. However, I also tell them the truth on the other side of the coin. I can repair that booth bottom a hundred times and will gladly do so but I will have to charge them each time, and because it is in a high traffic area it will very likely reoccur, or I can recover the booth bottom and it will last for considerably longer. I will gladly do either that they wish, but I just want to make sure I tell them up front the pros and cons of each. I am not telling them what to do, but I am telling them what I would do if this were my booth. I also want to be upfront with them so that in the future they will continue to use my services. I would rather disappoint my customer on the front end than the tail end of the transaction. Managers who are willing to listen tend to appreciate this approach. As time goes by, they come to depend on it.
Simple, no cost things can win you new customers for life as well as maintain current accounts for years.