At my first sales meeting as a 24-year-old blowhard, I remember James Chick talking about how each year he would make a list of major needs in his territory. As he talked to customers throughout the year, he would categorize major purchases they had coming up and then he would plan future discussions. James would then write this info on a legal pad (you can also use other technology to do this like a typewriter) so he did not forget. Seems simple right? It’s not. To do this, it takes diligence and consistency. But, it is one of the most important things you can do.
To do list
I found that not only writing down major needs, but also creating a list of people I need to talk to is essential for planning my business. For example, in basketball selling season (March-October) I write a list of every Men’s and Women’s program I work with. I then contact and set appointments with everyone on my list. What does this do? I can look at my list and know what I still have left to do. You will be surprised how a simple approach like this will push you to get out and see customers and plan your business. Put your list where you can see it and look at it every day.
My email works as a to do list also. The only items in my inbox are items that must be completed. Everything else gets filed. But not everything comes over email. I keep a sticky note on my laptop. If you have a Windows machine, you can search for Sticky Notes and this shows up every time you start your computer. This is nice because it can’t get lost or thrown away. You always have it. See a picture below of an example of my sticky notes.
I save all my contact info into my outlook contacts. I often will put preferences for the coach in their contact info. I will put information like room number, shoe size, preferences on artwork (simple or busy), when they like to meet, kids names, etc. There is no way you can remember it all, so put it somewhere that is easy to get to read right before you walk in and meet them.
Knowing your customers preferences is a big part of creating a relationship with them. Asking about their kids is always a feel-good question, but what they really want is for you to know is that they like a sleeveless T instead of a T-shirt for their football spirit pack. They want to know that you come prepared to show them several options. If you are going to ask a personal question, ask something like: “How did Johnny like the trip to Europe last fall?”
Be a pro
Managing your account is all about being a pro. I think it boils down to these bullet points:
- Know your client and their preferences. And act on them!
- Don’t come prepared with comments about how great the weather is. Refer to your notes and make intelligent conversation.
- Be ready to sell them what they need. Uniforms, spirit packs, etc. Don’t be selling spirit packs when they told you last fall they wanted to look at uniforms in the spring first.
- You can’t remember everything no matter how smart you are, so make a checklist.
How do you keep track of your clients and their preferences? How do you keep track of all the things you need to do?