Do you have assigned accounts who just won’t seem to buy from you? Despite good intentions and persistent follow up, do they seem to be indifferent to your approach?
For whatever reason, there some clients who never take to a particular rep regardless of the time or effort spent. Don’t take it personally because you’re not alone. Look to your left and right. Chances are your co-workers have a handful of accounts that are as indifferent to them as your accounts are indifferent to you.
So here’s what you do: you ‘swish’ them.
The swish is process of trading some of your inactive accounts with some inactive account of a colleague. In other words, you swap accounts to determine if new approach makes a difference to the client. Now you would kind of think that this approach is like changing a left sock for a right. But it’s not. Very often, good things happen. Clients respond. Sales are made. And everyone is a little happier (and wealthier).
Here’s how it works.
How to Implement a Good Swish Program
Start by identifying five or ten accounts that won’t seem to budge in terms of sales. The first step is for you to send a letter to each of these accounts to say that you’re their “new” account rep and that you’re looking forward to getting to know their clients and understanding their needs. If you can, snap it up a bit. Attach a picture to your letter or e-mail so that the client gets a sense of who you are. Brand yourself. Attach a little biography of 3-4 lines that gives your client a feel for you and your interests. This will catch their eye and give them the feeling that something new and different is about to happen.
Your next step is to make a follow up call. This is important. If you e-mail your introductory letter, make your follow up phone call the next day. If you sent your letter by mail, try to make your follow up call within 2-3 days of anticipated receipt. The letter or e-mail must be fresh in their minds to have the best impact.
When you reach your client, reference your letter and explain that you’d simply like to ask some questions to understand the nature of the clients business, how they like to purchase, what’s important to them etc. In other words, show them you are interested in them and their business and NOT just the sale of your product. Make it about them.
If you encounter voice mail, leave a message. Reference the introductory letter and your request for a ‘get-to-know-you’ call. Give the client three days to get back to you. This gives them enough time to respond and prevents you from calling too soon and being a pest.
If your customer does not respond to your voice mail by the third day, send an e-mail referencing your introductory letter and requesting the appointment.
Wait two days for a response. This is plenty of time for an e-mail response. Beyond two days and they’ve completely forgotten about you. If your client fails to make contact, call and leave another voice message explaining that you’ve made a couple of attempts “…but as of yet we haven’t been able to connect…” This is a polite and courteous way to be persistent combing both a visual and audio reminder.
Wait three days for a response to your voice mail and if there is still no call back or e-mail, send one more e-mail explaining that you have tried several times to reach him/her but without success. Tell the client that you’re available at their convenience should they need to reach.
And that’s it. Wait another 4-6 weeks before you try another approach.
What This Will Do for You
When you do the ‘math’ you’ll discover you have made five attempts to reach the prospect (your initial introductory letter/e-mail plus 2 voicemails and 2 e-mails). Put another way, you’ve done all you could to be conscientious and attentive. What it really means is that despite your colleague’s attempts and despite your attempts, the client is a bit of a dud. So be it. You took your best shot. At least you know. You took your best shot.
But what you’ll often find is that this approach actually does wonders at getting non-responders to respond. Maybe it’s because it’s a fresh new face or approach by a different individual or maybe it’s the positioning of you being the “new” account rep but there is something that seems to spur inactive clients to respond.
Who knows? But it doesn’t matter, does it? What the Swish really does is provide you with another approach to following up. It gives you another chance; another opportunity for new sales.
If you have non-responding clients, swish a handful or two and see what happens.