Customer Experience News & Trends

What sales reps can do when key customer decision-makers are replaced

In these days of transitions and mergers, it’s not unusual for your key customers to be replaced. But a change in customer decision-makers doesn’t have to mean a lost account. Salespeople who handle buyer changes properly find the accounts can be as profitable as ever.

Some tactics to deal with the transition smoothly:

  1. Show the relationship history. Your major challenge may be to overcome the new buyer’s previous relationship with a competitor. It’s important to show the new buyer how successful the relationship has been and prove that it shouldn’t change. Information like delivery statistics, cost reductions and testimonials from the new buyer’s co-workers may encourage the buyer to stick with you.
  2. Find new hot buttons. Since you’re dealing with a different decision-maker, his or her hot buttons may be different from the last person you worked with. Mention the priorities of the predecessor and see if the replacement feels the same way.
  3. Focus on service. Treat the new buyer the same way you would treat a new customer. Focus on follow-through and clear communication. It may be a good idea to inform other departments in your company to give the account extra attention too, especially during the transition period.
  4. Establish a comfort level. After you have proven yourself to the new buyer, suggest you set up new guidelines. When trust has been earned, the buyer may want to change communication methods or the way the account is being handled.

Adapted from the book “Top Gun Selling: Winning Tactics of the Top 2% of Salespeople,” by Bill Blades, a sales and leadership specialist.

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