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Drive value from Day 1 to bolster customer loyalty

September 12, 2008 -  By

When should you start working on renewals? Six months before each contract expires, three months out, or with one month to go?

The correct answer is none of the above, according to Drew St. John II of the Wilson-Oyler Group.

“You should begin work on renewals the moment you sign that first contract,” St. John said. “Everything you say and do, and don’t say and do, from Day 1 either puts you closer to a renewal or further away.”

Partner Bruce Wilson echoed the sentiment to a crowd of about 50 Green Industry professionals attending the Wilson-Oyler Success Series seminar held in Columbus Aug. 28.

“How quickly are you moving up your clients’ value chains?” Wilson asked. “You have to become a integral part of each customer’s team and budget — and it’s absolutely critical that you and your entire team work toward that goal from Day 1.”

“It’s not really about how well you maintain their flowers,” Wilson added. “It’s about how well you embed yourself and your team, solutions and services into your clients’ businesses.

Presented by Husqvarna, with Landscape Management serving as the exclusive media sponsor, the Wilson-Oyler Success Series seminar — “Developing World-Class Account Managers & Enhancing the Total Customer Experience — covered:

  1. The role of account managers;
  2. Selling, integrating and retaining customers;
  3. Renewal strategies — Capturing a bigger piece of the pie;
  4. Quality and productivity — Planning, delivering and measuring; and
  5. Identifying and overcoming destructive habits.

“If you’re one of the fortunate few in this industry who are already ‘there,’ we’ll help you get to a 95 percent-plus renewal rate,” St. John added. “It’s those companies that are never satisfied with their products and services, and how their employees deliver them, that become the truly great companies.”

“You need a 90 percent-plus renewal rate to be a competent, growing, profitable, successful company,” St. John said. “An overarching goal of our Success Series seminars is to get you there — and keep you there.

The next tour stops for Wilson-Oyler’s Success Series are:

  1. Newton, MA — Sept. 18;
  2. Louisville, KY — Oct. 22;
  3. San Francisco — Nov. 20; and
  4. Charlotte, NC — Dec. 11.

“There were plenty of take-aways for me and our company,” said seminar attendee Keith Peri, a field supervisor with Turfscape of Twinsburg, OH. “One big take-away was not trying to squeeze everything into spring. Doing that essentially is like scheduling overtime. Why not schedule edging and mulching for early summer?

“Another gem I brought home from the seminar was that we need listen closely to customers’ stated needs from the onset, but also be sure our plans and work reflect their true needs,” Peri said. “Our job is to tell clients what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear or what they initially think they need.”

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LM Staff

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