Over the years I have seen and heard of many different account list rules, systems, and procedures such as, how many accounts a rep can have on their list, how often must they call on them, or how do you claim, trade or give up accounts. Today, I want to discuss one specific area of managing account lists, that being the purging of the lists.
Through experience, I’ve learned that once an account is on someone’s list, it’s very hard to get them to relinquish or give up the account, even if they are not calling on them. Several reasons a rep may not be calling on an account may be:
The rep simply has too many accounts already on their list and doesn’t have time to call on all of them.
Conflict in personality; they don’t like the person they are calling on.
They have a competitor on the air and feel uncomfortable working with another business in the same category. (I know some groups like the idea of having “category experts” that call on several businesses in the same category. That topic is for another day.)
They tried several times and have been rejected but hold on to the account “just in case they call in”!
Regardless of our reasons for not calling on accounts, there is a point and time when an account needs to be given up or moved. Whether they will admit it or not, the number one reason reps hesitate to give up accounts is that they fear another rep may actually be able to sell them and therefore, they’ll look bad. To a degree, there might be a little truth in that but, it shouldn’t matter. The goal is to get all potential clients on the air!
Managers, it’s your job to make sure that each and every account that has potential is being called on. Taking accounts from one rep and giving to another is never an enjoyable task, but it’s one that must be done, but handled with care and professionalism.
I suggest that a minimum of one time a year you have each rep purge their list. Ask them to provide ten accounts that have “potential” but they are not adequately calling on. This is not a time to question why they are not calling on them. The goal is to get everyone comfortable in purging their list on a regular basis and becoming comfortable in turning over accounts they are not calling on.
By not doing so, you’re leaving money on the table and giving opportunity to your competitors. By doing so, it’ll create a whole new opportunity for each and every rep.