256Written by: Rajendra Singh Sisodia
About the author: ex Executive Director, Indian Oil Corporation | Chairman, Bitumen India Forum | Strategic Advisor & Consultant | Globally acclaimed Speaker | Mentor to Startups | LinkedIn 19000+
Big customers are very demanding but if you win their trust, they are yours for long-term. …
Today I am writing about big customers who always set new benchmarks for commercials as well as service. A sales person always finds it difficult to keep on meeting up these benchmarks.
In this case the volume of the customer is around 20% of the total sales target. Hence if this customer is not in his fold, the salesman can neither meet his target for volume nor market share. Customer runs a major power plant with fuel requirement @ 6000 KLPM supplied by railway rake. As per industry norms the plant must keep stock @ atleast 7 days requirement i.e 1400 KL. But the store incharge always wants to operate with 2 days stock (400 KL) and keeps salesman on the toes all the time to ensure supplies on “Just in time” basis to impress his management of managing lower inventory holding cost.
However, on one occasion the situation became critical when a start-up of a new unit was to be inaugurated by PM. But due to derailment on railway tracks railway rake can’t reach plant in 2 days and plant may not get started/inaugurated due to expected fuel dry out at the plant. Chairman of the customer calls CEO of supplier at 11.30pm on Saturday night with request for help to arrange supplies by road & operation of depot on Sunday to ensure inauguration of plant by PM on the planned day i.e Tuesday. CEO of supplier assures him of full cooperation and help despite additional cost in arranging transportation and cost of operating the depot on Sunday. To encase this opportunity to win over customer trust, CEO takes special approval to absorb this additional cost. CEO of supplier takes immediate actions to expedite fuel supplies accordingly to ensure commissioning of plant as per plan.
Chairman of the customer thanks CEO of supplier & decides signs an MoU for fuel supply for 5 years on nomination basis against the normal practice of tendering. It is important to note here that Chairman was convinced with the credibility & reliability of the supplier which enabled him to get board approval for awarding this business on nomination basis. He also increased inventory holding equivalent to 7 days requirement against current level of 2 days and transferred the store incharge.
Salesman got promoted for managing this difficult customer & finally winning him over with long-term MoU…………
Following are the important takeaways..
Patiently keep meeting customer demand however unreasonable it is.
Win his trust by bailing him out of a difficult situation
Once trust is won, customer is yours for long term