Have You Earned the Right to An Annual Commitment?

Are you putting your long-term advertisers on autopilot? Some clients have learned to fight back.

Salespeople need to earn long-term contracts

Photo by Nito

Not long ago I met with a very smart personal injury lawyer in the Southeast. He uses a lot of television, and has for more than a decade.

He made it clear to us during our first meeting that he was not going to sign an annual agreement. He told us that he never commits to longer than a quarter at a time, and has done it this way for years.

It’s not that he isn’t confident in the medium – he knows that television works.

He simply doesn’t want to be taken for granted.

A long time ago, I signed some long-term deals, and here’s what happened,” he told us. “The sellers thanked me for the business, made sure I gave them the proper commercials, and then forgot me.

“Well, that’s not exactly true,” he said. “I would hear from them again – 11 months later when it was time to renew the deal. Now I sign for a quarter at a time, and that means that I hear from my salespeople at least every three months.”

I didn’t have a comeback for that – there was a lot of truth in what he was saying. It’s easy, when you have a one-year deal in your pocket, to direct your attention to the next prospect, and focus on those things that are urgent.

What this lawyer has figured out is that there’s a way to direct some urgency his way, by refusing to sign year-long contracts.

Think about the way you treat your annual customers.

Are you in regular touch with them, sending them articles, bringing them new ideas, checking in to make sure they are getting the results they expect from your broadcast and digital tools?

Or have you moved on to other things, with a note on your calendar to call them when the contract is about to expire?

If you’ve got them on autopilot, it’s going to cost you sooner or later.

To earn the right to a long-term customer, you need to treat them as if the contract is up for renewal every month.

Question: What do you do to make sure your customers don’t feel you’re taking them for granted? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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