Make Yourself Memorable! – An Important Task For The Black Sales Professional

One of our subscribers to Black Sales Journal, a high-performing sales executive wrote a personal note to me suggesting that I cover this topic; I think you will appreciate it.

We discussed in two posts in January the act of developing deep, meaningful, and enduring customer relationships.  That was posted in Black Sales Journal – 1/13, Deepening Your Customer Relationships and 1/20, Deepening Your Customer Relationships Part 2.  Your accounts are constantly going to be a target for other sales professionals who believe that they can steal your prized customer relationships.

Know the Opportunities

There are moves you can make in recognition of your customer relationships.  One method is to acknowledge notable milestones in the business relationship with a personal note or card.  Below are a few examples of situations where this would be useful.

  • A successful sale
  • An unsuccessful sale
  • Anniversary of the initial sale (continuous)
  • The additional sale of new products with the account
  • The successful satisfaction of a problem
  • The termination of a business relationship
  • The changing of your buyer
  • Your involvement with a new account (reassigned to you)

I want to make sure you recognize the impact of this small gesture.  All of the above milestones happen in the course of the business relationship.  Business relationships have a continuity that, at some point, begins to be routine.  As a Black sales professional you need to stand out from the routine business relationships, and demonstrate the personal touch.  This will help accomplish that, and they will remember it.

A Personal Example

I once had a client who was a large water treatment provider for medical institutions, educational institutions and large manufacturers.  When I attempted to secure the business on my first go round, I was unsuccessful, even though I thought we would pull it off. References with my current customers had been checked, payment arrangements discussed and next steps made clear.

After being informed that were not successful I sent a card expressing my appreciation for the opportunity as well as my new found position as the “expert” on their operations and how that will benefit our relationship in the future.  The card was warmly worded, personal, and although there may have been a hint of disappointment, a positive message.

The following year, I was surprised to find that my buyer their was now the General Manager, and I was soliciting a new buyer.  When I contacted the customer my call was immediately returned.  The new buyer indicated that she had my appreciation card, and my business card in hand and I was going to be one of two vendors allowed to participate in the quote process.  She advised that the GM had indicated that it was his expectation that I be allowed this opportunity.

I got the order for the whole account that year, even without the low price.  Now, my appreciation card probably was not the whole reason, yet it was a good part of it.

There were a large number of sales professionals vying for their business, but in light of not being successful in securing the business on the first go round, my appreciation card help me to remain memorable.  The card left a positive lasting impression after they had to break the news to me that the business was staying with the current provider.

A Couple of Tips

I suggest you make this a personal card, and draft a short note in it.  You should add your business card if you feel it is necessary.  I always felt the more personal the better.  I did not send cards with my company’s business logo and name on it for this purpose, this was about me.

I found the best and most striking cards from Crane & Co.  The cards I use are the Engraved Gold Initial Ecru Boxed Cards in a set of 20  ($19.00 for 20 cards and envelopes).  They are hand engraved and made of cotton paper.  They stand out!  I get them from Barnes & Noble although you can get them a few other places, possibly  your local stationary store.  You can get a glimpse of them as well as purchase by clicking the Barnes and Noble ad on the left side of this page.  In the search box type “Crane & Company” to get there quickly.  There are less expensive alternatives from other companies on the site as well.

As a Black Sales professional you strive to create a positive lasting impression.  Remember, you have more near hits than hits in this business.  When you are unsuccessful at a proposal, leave the buyer recognizing that you are a solid professional and worthy of their recognition.  They will return your calls when you reach out the next time.  Believe it!

We are anxious to hear your comments.

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