I was working with a small account management team in Germany and they seemed to all have similar problems. All of them had clients who weren't cooperating, clients who were demanding and simply acted in a transactional way.
To their credit they were doing everything they could to ensure their service was outstanding, and delivering on their service promise yet there was still something wrong.
As I began to explore this further and observe calls and interactions they had with each other and with their customers I noticed particular behaviours that were unnoticeable to them but more visible to me. Practices that had become habit and that habit was now hindering them from seeing progress in their client relationships and sales.
These aren't unique to this group. Here are three that I see challenge many account managers and can and will negatively impact your customer relationships.
Saying yes too often
It can be difficult to say no to your customers particularly if you know the stakes are high or there is a possibility you might lose out on a deal. But, positive challenge and sometimes saying no is part of every healthy relationship. You have to care enough to disagree not to be right but discover whats right for the other person and the result for you both. The impact if you don't is you can set a foundation for an unequal relationship where there isn't a mutual exchange of respect and value. It may not be explicit but implicitly you'll notice the way in which your customer behaves. If they are consistently demanding or unappreciative they may not be the right client or it may be a result of not challenging and setting expectations for a relationship that will thrive. This isn't the easiest thing to do but it is very possible with the right approach. It starts with with a little courage now so you can sow long term benefits for tomorrow.
Making too many excuses
I get it, people are annoying and your business may not be very responsive to things you need to really meet your clients needs. I experienced this in many of my roles. Those excuses are getting in the way of you producing the best for you and your customer. Each situation will be different. The first step is deciding to own the outcome and make the challenge a step instead of a crutch. One way to do this is to look at the the challenges and break them down into categories of people, process and skills PPS. It may a combination of all three, just one or two. If the challenge is the approach of a person then you may need to change yours. If its the way something is done then work on collaborating and finding ways to make incremental improvements. If you get stuck because of not knowing how to do something then look for ways to be supported.
Thinking more about commission than the client
Everyone believes they're client centred but your activity and conversations will always reveal the truth. We all want to get paid for the work we put in and results we get. The only way you do this is through other people. The way to profit is through people. Zig Ziglar famously said "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want". Often customers will see the benefit in your service but zero differentiation in the relationship. You become a commodity supplier and less of a real partner. The differentiation in your customer relationships is what matters most. Remember. Every time you are in front of your customer whether on the phone, face to face or virtually, you are in the greatest competitive position to amplify trust, deepen your relationship and increase your value.
If you want to know you can activate the right qualities and build client relationships that matter. Check out the FREE KAM Mastery Webinar training series atwww.jermaineedwards.com/kamwebinars
Founder of the Key Account Hack System - New Key Account thinking that transforms relationships and creates predictable sales growth.