The “long dollar” is the most valuable prize coveted by sales; it’s a dollar that keeps on giving to the sales person and to the organization.
The long dollar represents repeated customer spending over many months and years as opposed to the short dollar which is spent only a few times and typically is short term oriented.
Long dollars are generated by loyal customers who have committed themselves to an organization; short dollars follow the intermittent purchase of a product or service that satisfies an immediate need which is often impulse driven.
Short dollars have no loyalty motivation and are typically driven by purchase convenience and who has the lowest price.
Prospecting for the long dollar requires a commitment to relationship building on the part of the salesperson; they are produced only if sales “puts in the time”. Don’t expect customers to commit until they see the salesperson as a person of integrity who is truly interested in helping solve their problems.
The long dollar is the ultimate return on sales investment of time and intensive emotional energy required to build a deep and intimate understanding of what value the customer expects.
Short dollars come when sales investment falls short; mutual respect and trust is only skin deep.
Here are a few quick hints to guide you in your quest for the elusive long dollar.
1. Stratify your account base according to the ability to repeatedly spend with you over a long period of time. Make sure your target client list has the potential to get you a good return on the investment you will have to make.
If you’re going to invest your time over the long term, you have to target your resources carefully.
2. Prioritize your client list in terms of the size of the potential 5-year opportunity available should you decide to pursue it.
A client with a high ability to pay but with a small sales volume opportunity doesn’t represent immediate long dollar potential.
3. Review the client list for 5-year potential annually to respond to changing circumstances. You want to be able to spot a new opportunity that suddenly presents itself and dump clients not living up to your expectations.
4. Build a relationship-building engagement plan for each client you intend to invest your time and energy in. Each client will require a different approach; if you have 25 potential long dollar targets you should have 25 unique engagement plans.
5. Execute! Learn! Tweak! Execute! Learn what works and what doesn’t in terms of building credibility and currency with each client; modify your approach accordingly. Try applying what works for one client to another. Keep detailed records of the progress made with each client so your assessment of progress is as accurate as possible.
The long dollar requires discipline, tenacity and perseverance to earn but in the long run is significantly more rewarding than a life based on short term sales.
What kind of actions have you taken that have lead to long and great customer relationships? Leave a comment and tell us about it!
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