Face it; there is a certain amount of luck in everything we do. Get lucky and you succeed. Luck turns against you and you don’t. So what can we do to increase our odds of having luck on our side?
I’ve noticed a few things about good gamblers that probably apply to increasing the odds of successful account management as well.
· Know the rules. If you don’t know how to play craps, don’t. If you don’t know much about the rules of your prospect, don’t approach until you do. What is their business model? What are their challenges and opportunities? What can you do to help them succeed? What are their protocols for starting new relatioships?
· Understand how the house operates. Ever notice that you don’t get that tired in a casino? Might have something to do with the increased level of oxygen being pumped in. Ever notice that the drinks just keep on coming? Knowing these tricks help the winners avoid the pitfalls. Ever have one of those customers that meets with you all the time to learn what’s new, what are all the other companies doing, etc., but they never buy anything? I call them “Takers” and, if you let them, the relationship will go on the same way for a long time. Understanding that they are takers will allow you to adjust where you spend your time and find opportunities more likely to turn into business.
· Know the odds. Good gamblers know the odds of every bet they make and focus their bets on the best odds. Good account managers focus their time and attention on the best places to create growth. If you knew which customers were loyal to your company and not at all loyal to your competitors, you would focus some serious attention there because your odds of growing share of wallet are much better.
· Don’t be greedy. The consistent winners know when to stop and walk away with the loot. They resist the greed temptation, which is strong. Good account management starts with a focus on helping your customer succeed, not “winning” the business at all costs.
· Pay attention. Counting cards is against the rules, but paying attention to what’s played is not. Pay attention to your customers. Most companies have a customer listening program in place. If yours does, pay attention to what your customers are telling you and use that to increase your odds. Who is telling you that there is a problem you can alleviate? Who is telling you that there is more business available? If your company doesn’t listen to customers in a formal way, its probably time to start.
Good gamblers have perfected the skill of optimizing the odds. It doesn’t guarantee success, but it does give you the best possible odds for success. Know the challenges and opportunities, don’t be greedy and pay attention to your customers. Always ask yourself, “How can I improve my odds of success?”