Do you carry out quarterly reviews with your top customers? The quarterly review meeting is often seen, and usually for good reason, as a gruelling experience under a spotlight of questions. Why would a customer agree to such a thing?
Firstly, these meetings don’t have to be like this and secondly, doing this will benefit their business as well as yours. I’m not talking about the traditional supplier/distributor trials but about effective meetings where each side can discuss their challenges and expectations and work together to achieve them.
Say you’re a component distributor or contract manufacturer who was able to discuss with your key clients how many components they bought from you or how many units they contracted you to manufacture against how many they said they would?
How much would you gain from knowing why the reality and forecast didn’t match, what the future expectations are and the challenges your client is experiencing, or needs to overcome, to meet their forecast?
What would your customers gain? Do you have experience, resource or connections that could help a customer overcome a particular challenge? Could you offer a better contract in return for actual business being placed against an accurate forecast and a long-range plan that helps you better manage your stock or more efficiently manage your production runs?
The offers you make and the benefits you paint are particular to your business, but the gains can make a massive difference on both sides.
Another, huge benefit is that this is one way to get your key clients to see you as valued partners without whom their business would be less successful. Achieve this and you will strengthen the relationship, make life more difficult for your competitors and potentially see an increased return in customer value.
Choose your top 5 or 10 clients and present the idea of having quarterly reviews and the potential benefits to you both. Forge closer ties and become valued strategic partners.