Step #7: Collect
Once you’ve rendered the service and the customer is pleased with your efforts, quickly collect the monies that are owed you. If this sounds obvious to you, join the club. But, you’d be surprised how many people provide a service and never get paid for one of a zillion reasons. The most frequent reason is that they don’t have a system in place to automatically collect invoices. (There it is again, the need for a system.)
Step # 8: Measure
At regular intervals after you have converted a prospect to an active account, you need to measure the value of your account quantitatively and qualitatively. This is very important. Ask yourself how you feel about the relationship. Do you feel good about the account, the possibilities, and the future? Or do you resent having to deal with those “low lifes”?
I can make more money for you, improve your bottom line, and put a smile on your face without selling one thing. How? With this advice: Identify your deadbeat accounts — the handful of people whose attitudes are dragging you down… people who want the moon for the price of a Big Mac.
Once you identify these “repeat offenders,” I wouldn’t be rude, cruel, or impolite. Simply suggest that your relationship needs some fixing and provide them with one or two options. They can change their attitude (or fix whatever the repeat offense is) or you would be happy to help them select another source who will respond better to their style of doing business (like, say, Attila the Hun).
Measure your relationships with current clients because they may not be doing you any good, and in fact, some may be doing you harm. Trust your gut feelings. Do this every six months.
Step #9: Expand
Expand the services you provide to your client base. Brainstorm how else you can help your clients. Can you help with vacations? Ground transportation, like limousines? Can you help them organize business meetings? Provide accounting assistance with incentive programs? Help them buy theater tickets? Challenge and press the envelope on your (or your firm’s) concept of the services you provide.
For example, if you are a corporate travel agent, take the position that you provide executive services. Your clients don’t need you just for tickets. They don’t need you to simply book a hotel or a rental car. Their secretaries are intelligent people and can call the car rental agency directly or any airline on a toll-free number. You are a provider of executive services. And your services are not found so easily by dialing 1-800.
Step # 10: Repeat
Now that you have The System running smoothly and you know the steps by heart, you simply do it again. Repeat the entire process.
That’s how The System works. You are, in all probability, in a business where the realistic expectation is that you can aspire to hit singles and not home runs, just like the rest of us. That’s not a negative statement. You can score a lot of runs with a long succession of singles. Once you get The System set up, you just repeat it and repeat it and repeat it. Or, as they say in my home state of New Jersey — bada bing, bada bam, bada boom!
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