[Blog Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post from New York. We are still Red Sox fans here at Spiro!]
It’s the best time of year! It’s October, which means it’s postseason baseball.
If you were in Chicago last week and had tickets to the game, then you were going through your client list in detail. If you selected the wrong client to take you may be destitute in 2018.
For those of us in New York, we knew back in May that it was a rebuilding year for the Yankees. Or so sportscasters told us. Making it to the postseason would be a long shot. And per usual, one of the greatest franchises in the MLB pulled it out. The Yankees squeezed in as a Wildcard.
Franchises will have winning years, losing years, players traded, players hurt, administration changes and negotiation battles. Businesses are much like that. Sales can be up. Sales can be down. Key employees leave or get sick. New leadership comes in or in some cases rebranding rolls out.
As the sales professionals, when we have clients that are going through these changes we need to be cautious of how it will affect our pipeline. Once in a blue moon, one of our big fish clients might be making tremendous changes in the upcoming year. That company is so important to our sales pipeline that we cannot write them off. But we cannot count on them to come through for us in a clutch situation.
This big fish client is the Wildcard.
Here are the 5 things to remember when dealing with the Wildcard:
1. Be sure to stay in touch
If you suddenly don’t return phone calls, text messages or emails that client going through transition knows that they have been sidelined. The relationship and rapport that you’ve built over the years will diminish.
2. Be honest about what is going on
If you constantly hang out with your big fish like nothing is changing and have the overall vibe that things are going to work themselves out in the universe, you are taking a big risk. If that company folds, or cannot afford to buy from you, you will be in a world of hurt moving forward.
3. Don’t act like a free agent
The caveat is that you as the sales professional also need to be a wildcard. You can’t call at the end of the month when your quota is due to see if they’re ready to buy. That shows that you’re desperate.
4. Don’t get too invested
You can’t be too much of a cheerleader because you may hurt someone’s feelings later on if the company business goes south and they close their doors.
5. Continue to build trust
In order to be a true Wildcard adventure, both parties have to trust each other. This only comes from rapport being built between each other to be 100% honest on what’s going on in their business lives.
When this happens new ideas flourish. You’re able to upsell and cross-sell as well as connect your client with others that may be able to help them during their company’s transition phase.
The Wildcard Sale
Properly done, the Wildcard adventure can be fantastic. All of a sudden, both players are on the same page. The client and sales relationship becomes more relaxed. The stress of having to close the deal and move onto the next step is gone. You’ll notice that phone calls get shorter and lunches get longer.
The relationship between you and your client will grow as they will trust you more and more because you’re sticking in with them unsure of the future of where that business relationship will go. Like any Wildcard, this ride is really a 50-50 shot at keeping that big fish and turning it into your number one client.