10 Steps for Managing Customers to Maximize Architectural Sales Success

The professional architectural sales representative of construction products is continually seeking better ways to manage his customers to maximize sales.  How do you know which customers to call on when, and how often? How do you stay organized amid your phone calls, sales visits, paperwork, and planning? Managing your customers is not complicated. It takes organizing and time management skills to develop a plan suitable to meet your sales goals. Finally it requires a focus and personal commitment to follow the plan. 10 Proven Ideas to Manage Customers and Maximize Sales Organizing a sales calling plan must begin with a full understanding of a manufacturer’s market plan and sales goals for its sales representatives. The type and number of customers that a sales representative must call on must be appropriate to meet the sales goals specified in the plan. Use a modified 80/20 rule, referred to as the Pareto Principle, as a guide to establishing customers who should receive the major focus of time and effort. A general rule of thumb is that in any customer data base, approximately 20% of customers will generate 80% of total sales. The specific customers that comprise the 20% are not static. Revaluate classifications annually (or more often if necessary). Do not forget the remaining 80%. Although the top 20% must get the most attention, every customer can and should be significant. Use the letters A, B, and C to classify customers. The A customers are the top 20% that generate approximately 80% of sales. The B group generates approximately 10%-15% of total sales; and the C group generates the balance. The 80/20 rule also applies to the time spent with each category of customer. About 80% of a sales representative’s time should be spent servicing the A customers. The B group requires about 10% -15% of time, and the C group the balance of time. Do not to spend a disproportionate amount of time with B and C customers, because they happen to be more likeable or they create fewer problems than A customers. Establish strong personal relationships particularly with  A customers. Strong personal relationships can overcome many objections such as price or an occasional missed delivery. Customers normally buy from the architectural sales representative they like and respect. Building these relationships take time and effort. Keep an accurate record of what is discussed on each personal visit and telephone call, particularly regarding commitments and subjects that foster a personal relationship.  Recording takes time, but it is critical for sales success and maximizing sales. Use the correct CRM.  Historically Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems have not been widely used in the construction industry, but that is changing.  See an article from the AGC...

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