Last week was all about introducing our clients to the family. This week – it’s all about growing old with them…
There’s no beating around the bush (or the tree, in this case): Christmas is upon us. The countdown has begun. And you know what that means?
Turkeys. TV. A few too many from the Quality Street tin. And if you’re in your formative years, presents. Lots of presents.
We all know that’s the expectation here. Yet it always intrigues me how the ‘gift-giving’ dynamic changes with age. The days of shredding through well-taped wrapping paper in the hunt for what you always wanted slowly turn into evenings of ‘Santa-stress’, frantically taping wrapping paper wondering what you’re doing when it’s only going to get shredded.
Of course, there’s still that inner child inside us all that loves the excitement – but by and large, the presents get smaller the older you get. Sometimes they get sock smaller. Sometimes they get ‘you’ve just adopted a tiger’ smaller.
But the presents you do get mean more. A lot more.
Why? Simply put, because they’re from the people you respect.
And so it should be between our clients and Account Managers. I talk a lot about knowing our clients – which of course is pivotal to any type of successful delivery – but when I talk about Account Management at GDS, simply knowing our clients isn’t enough. Neither is growing with them. That’s par for the course.
Growing old with them, however? That’s the key.
We create opportunities by breeding trust with our clients – but it takes a certain kind of mentality to turn those opportunities into deep-seated, stand-the-test-of-time, relationships. Just like the gifts that make a difference every December, good Account Management requires:
* The creation of a comfortable and trustworthy environment
* An ability to predict needs and align your movements accordingly
* Exceptional communication
* An explorative approach to your client’s interests and strategic movements (The ‘proud auntie’ at Christmas syndrome)
* The capacity to build, reciprocate – and where needed, mend – relationships without putting your best interests first
Do we want all of our sales staff to understand the characteristics and principles of good Account Management? Of course. Do I want all of our sales staff to become account managers? Not at all.
And that’s okay.
For some, living on the leading edge of introductions is what sales is all about; they don’t want to spend years investing in a few familiar faces. Force them into the situation, and – just like a belated Christmas present received in January – the impact they make can do more harm than good.
But flip the (gold chocolate) coin and you’ll find the relationship builders, communicators and insight hunters that thrive on finding the right presents – months in advance – just to give a smile to the select few.
The difference between knowing your clients and growing old with them? That’s the art of Account Management. That’s the science of GDS. That’s the expectation…
Just don’t expect it to be Christmas every day.