Do you have any problem accounts?
Over time, almost any customer can seem at times like a ‘problem account’ – you do your best but nothing seems to please, payments come more slowly, and communication slows down and is less productive than before.
It may not be them. It may actually be you (and that’s good news!).
Here are three things to consider:
- Their business may have changed, affecting their need for what you do, and you did not notice.
- Your own business has evolved, and what you have been doing for them may no longer be what you should do.
- Your customer’s big problems may be different now than those which made them your customer in the first place.
There may be new opportunities waiting for you with those same customers, who know you, trust you, and would give you a chance to do new things together.
Try changing your approach from a selling orientation, or even “account management”, to looking at your problem accounts as a source of new opportunities to explore together.
Apply customer discovery (or perhaps ‘re-discovery’…) to the situation:
- Find out what is new in their business, where they want to go, and how you can help.
- Work to develop new business you can do with them. This step may lead you to a new market you can address.
- You will move up in their order of vendor priorities – both for opportunities for business, and for speed of payment of your invoices…
You can change a relationship and its results completely by bringing different expectations to it, and adding something extra which is positive and may be unexpected.
Yes, some problem accounts are probably just that: problem accounts. If positive change seems unlikely, refer them elsewhere and focus your resources on those who value what you do.
But sometimes the problem is at our end – and so is the opportunity.
Try customer re-discovery with your problem accounts, and give yourself (and your customers) a chance to be better off!