Are you slipping into a dependency culture?May 4, 2009
Its very easy to give all your attention to one or two customers who, despite the current market are giving you lots of business "better look after these guys, can't afford to lose them". Its easy to fall into the trap of relying on one product line that, despite the current market is selling well "better keep pushing these, thank goodness we have this line". Its easy to stick to one market that you know inside out "phew, good job I am expert in this sector, the rest of the market is dead". Don't forget the suppliers, reliance on a single vendor can be commercial suicide, if for example they go out of business or exit the market.
All of a sudden you could find yourself in a "dependency culture". Too reliant on a single market, customer, product/service offering or supplier. Heavens forbid you were to become totally dependant on a single customer, that you a sell one product too, that you get from a single vendor!
So how do you avoid the dependency culture? Here are few pointers.
1. No matter how strong your pipeline looks [through those rose tinted sales spectacles] keep marketing and prospecting always be creating demand.
2. Don't get complacent keep researching your market, keep asking customers if they REALLY are happy, keep an eye on your competitors, don't let service or quality slip a millimetre.
3. Don't become too reliant on single vendor, keep them on their toes, remind them they they need you as much (if not more) than you need them. Have a contingency plan for alternate suppliers.
4. If you think you dont have the resources to get into a diferent market or customer segment, think again. Could you "re-purpose" what you sell for a quick entry into other markets (here is a great white paper on re-purposing ). You can capitalise on your knowledge, expertise and investment whilst broadening your market reach, quicker than you may think.
Every so often you need to be honest with yourself "am I as a salesperson, or are we as a business, falling into a dependency culture?". Keep asking because dependency will creep up on you before you know it.