Account managing is the fine art of balancing the needs and expectations of your customer with the skills of your company personnel. This all comes to a head when we put a cost to the services our customer is requiring of us.
Before moving into the position I now have at Dauntless Molds, I had many opportunities to observe Account Managers, Salesmen, Estimators and the like in action. Now that I am on that “other side of the fence” it’s time to share some of those lessons learned.
We all would agree the need to establish relationships and to build on them as time goes by. I firmly believe that this isn’t only with a customer who will be paying you to provide him with a service, but also our vendors who will be helping us with components or work that we don’t do internally.
A strength I’ve seen over the years is identifying a core area of expertise for your business. Whether it’s medical, lab ware, healthcare, automotive, etc., we need to identify those areas that best fit our shops and then search for those contacts.
Involvement in local trade chapters (i.e. AMBA, NTMA, SPI, etc.) is of value. Again you are networking with others who are networking. Look at what is making others successful and learn from it. You don’t want to copy. They have their dynamic, find yours and ride it to success!
I am a mold designer by trade, but that doesn’t mean I won’t utilize my designers on a customer visit or talking over a project. This gives me two powerful tools: 1) another set of eyes and 2) building value in a co-worker. This is the same with our moldmakers and specialists. Use the tools you have for your benefit.
The one aspect I see that cannot be mentioned often enough is to leave the ego and arrogance at home. Don’t forget to bring along your confidence though. You are in the position you are for a reason. Keep in mind that the American craftsman is still the best in the world. Sell it as such and enjoy the reward of providing the best molds to those looking for the best in quality.