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December 2016 • SMT Magazine 29 You are growing, or shrinking, but you are rare- ly, if ever, staying the same. That's exactly the way it is for your customers. Things change by the minute. New sales reps walk through their doors every day. New technologies appear. You get my drift…while new customers are impor- tant, never stop seeing your existing customer base as a source of growth and opportunity! There's an old story about a young sales- man who had sold a very modest $1,000 life in- surance policy to a young soap salesman. The young soap salesman did very well, and in a few decades, he was the head of his own multi- million-dollar business. So he purchased one of the first million dollar Life insurance policies ever written. But he didn't buy it from his reg- ular salesman. He bought it from another sales- man, from another company, someone he'd never even met before. Hearing this, the orig- inal salesman was hurt. "But why didn't you tell me you wanted a bigger policy?" he asked sadly. "Why didn't you buy that policy from me?" "Because," answered the man, "You nev- er asked." You must ask. You may not have met with your custom- er face to face recently, but I can promise you, someone else has. Never assume you know what your customers need—ask. Never assume your customer will automatically give you his business—ask for it. You don't own your cus- tomers. You earn them. With every contact, you earn them. Well, there you have it. We built the foun- dation. Now, and only now, we can start build- ing the house… and getting more sales! Here is a teaser: My consistent experience is that with- in 90 days of creating this solid foundation, and then starting Part 2, you'll get more sales. Life in the trenches isn't so bad after all. SMT Craig Arcuri is a 30+ year business veteran and brings that knowledge to the clients of his newly formed consulting firm called In my last manufacturing company, I invit- ed our vendors in once a quarter to our sales meetings, and asked them to explain to our sales people what their strengths were, and what type of customers would be a perfect fit for them. Our sales folks would then refer such cus- tomers or prospects, when located. We of course would also have the opportunity in those meet- ings to define our perfect customer, which they would then keep an eye out for and refer when appropriate. One of my service business clients spends almost $1M per year on out-sourcing manu- facturing for products they have designed, but never once asked the vendors for referral busi- ness. One meeting and one request netted five prospects for the company and one customer. All we did was ask. No pounding the phones. No research. No cold calling. One introduction, and a few days later we had I nice sized RFQ on my desk. Foundation Pillar #5: Secret Sales Weapon— the Best Place to Find More Business I can't believe I am giving up this secret. I mean really, why would I let this proprietary golden nugget of sales information go? Would you be offended if I asked you to send me $100 if you use this secret sauce? The best place, the single best place to find more business is…drum roll and fireworks please… your existing customers. Duh, you say? Well, sip a little truth serum and then ask yourself: "When was the last time, while meeting face to face, I asked my custom- er for more business; for the name of other peo- ple or groups in the company; for friends they know in other companies that I might talk to?" Oh, you do that all the time? I can see we didn't wait for the truth serum to kick in, did we? My experience has been that sales teams tend to focus relentlessly on new business. There's a subconscious, underlying assumption that all the current customers are automatically and happily giving you all their business. That if you just shoot them an email every once in a while, they'll continue doing exactly that. That their business doesn't change, even though, if you thought about it, you'd immediately know that it does. There is no "status quo" in business. SALES: A.K.A., TRENCH WARFARE!

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