David Letterman just might approve of Cliff Quicksell’s top 10 list of things clients really want.
The CEO of Cliff Quicksell & Associates (asi/825111) has a long track record of success on both the distributor and supplier side of the promotional products business and shared his experiences in front of an eager crowd during an education session at the ASI Show Chicago on Tuesday, July 13. While most salespeople believe that buyers are only interested in the lowest possible price, nothing could be further from the truth, according to Quicksell.
“The number-one thing clients really want is a strong, strategic thinker,” he said. “In order to achieve that, you need information. You need to ask questions. Understand what your client’s goals and objectives are, as well as what success looks like to them.”
In order to truly know your client’s business, you need to dive headfirst into their industry. It helps if you already have knowledge of or interest in the particular market, but if you’re targeting a new niche, do the research. “I had a background in food and liquor before entering promotional products,” Quicksell said. “I knew that space and its challenges, so it was a natural fit to sell in that industry.”
Clients also want salespeople who think outside the box, Quicksell said. Although salespeople are often afraid to try new ideas, that fear can hold them back from innovation and success. The promo industry’s ability to pivot to selling personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic should instill confidence in distributors to experiment.
“You changed the direction of your business because you had to,” Quicksell explained. “Well, even when times are great, you should always look for ways to reinvent yourself. Think about how you can put a spin on an established item or how you can package it differently.”
It’s vital to show your credentials to clients, especially when it comes to proven success with clients in the same industry. Having metrics such as ROI and ROO (return on objective) will make potential customers feel more comfortable with investing in you. “You should be soliciting testimonials from your clients and incorporating those in your marketing,” Quicksell noted.
Once you have everything figured out, execute that integrated strategy. To ensure you’re on the same page as your client, communicate the sound strategy with them. “Make sure you have the resources to deliver and grow with your client,” Quicksell said.