Declare L-WAR on your customers!

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Goedendag, Engles. As I was driving around the pot-holed roads and overgrown verges of your beautiful English countryside last weekend, I was reminded that it’s always hard to slash expenditure whilst improving service. Some village greens and commons were so overgrown; I almost expected a division of North Vietnamese Army regulars to suddenly burst out

Goedendag, Engles.

As I was driving around the pot-holed roads and overgrown verges of your beautiful English countryside last weekend, I was reminded that it’s always hard to slash expenditure whilst improving service.

Some village greens and commons were so overgrown; I almost expected a division of North Vietnamese Army regulars to suddenly burst out of the elephant grass followed by a noisy exchange of small arms fire and crunching mortars.
I was, after all, on the outskirts of Sutton at the time and anything can pop out at you. My over engineered German hardware was an obvious target for a well-aimed RPG and the sofa burning louts in Croydon were only a few well-coordinated Blackberry messages away.

Panic engulfed me. I found myself thinking dark and deep conservative thoughts: “If only the UK could get its massive overcrowded prison population to do some outdoor activity and napalm these verges, I might be able to spot the enemy before they are able to zero in.”

It’s amazing what thoughts come to you in moments of stress, I reflected.

But after I turned up the air-conditioning to clear the fog of panic, I remembered that I am just a guest in this country and everybody has rights, even if they appear wrongs.

God, I sometimes hate visiting customers. Especially in bandit county, where a grinning youth can be holding a command and control device disguised as a mobile phone and getting fleeced in an NCP is the only guarantee that your car will be in the same place as where you left it.

Why do it do it? The perpetual hold ups on the M25, the diversions, the rain….the rain…the rain. Jesus, it’s raining again.
I do it because Face to Face (F2F) is still king in my book, despite all the video conferencing, email and other mechanisms of communication we have at our disposal. I feel I need to go to L-WAR, in order to best service my client even if it does mean the odd excursion into “Amazingstoke” or the Midlands aka Helmand Province.

And although this servicing may cost more than jumping on a call or pinging out an email, I find it saves you more in the long run and helps overall customer retention and repeat business.

So what is L-War? Well as resellers, we need to be good communicators and we need to sell without selling. L-WAR is the ability to Listen, Watch, Anticipate and Respond.

If you always arm yourself with these weapons as you go into your customer meetings you will find you get a better outcome, according to a Svengali I was listening to at a recent partner summit.

Sometimes, we are so keen to tell our message about our vendor partners’ products and about ourselves that we forget the essential basics of listening to our customer needs, watching how they respond to our pitch or our solution to their problem or anticipate what their questions or next steps might be.

This is why we sometimes get name amnesia the instant someone gives us their business card.

Because we are so excited to tell the person who we are and what we do, we just simply don’t listen or take the time to remember Dave, or John’s name!

But by going to L-WAR, when you meet a customer, it can really make a difference.

And although I realise we can’t always make the time to visit our customers F2F I would encourage you to follow apply the principles of LWAR when you next meet your customers and if you can’t go F2F, apply it online to Twitter feeds and other social media outlets in order to maximise your service.

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Author: Mike Magee
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