Customer management is not …

… telling your customers how it’s going to be. That’s not customer management.

Customer management is done on the backside and in the shadows, not in front of your restaurant and retail buyers. It’s the coordination of deliveries. It’s the replacing of samples. It’s making sure their bills are paid and confusion is quickly resolved. It’s making sure they have all the information needed regarding your products.

It’s your job to help them solve problems, to help them find great wines to pass along, and to help them over speed bumps along the way.

Customer management should never be seen or heard by the buyer. It should just happen.

The big problems arise when a sales rep tries to bend the rules of the buyer, on the buyer’s own turf (the store or the restaurant). If the customer is playing a totally different game than you are, with different rules and expectations, then maybe a different sales rep should call on that account.

(It’s one thing to ask for your weekly meeting to be on Mondays instead of Tuesdays. It’s another thing entirely to demand systems that no other sales rep that calls on that account ever asks for. And neither of these examples is actually “customer management.”)

It’s not your job to change them. It’s your job to decide if you should change yourself or give up the revenue.

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