Too small to matter


Last week, I needed to ask one of our current vendors for a quote. So I contacted the sales rep who helped us set up the account in the first place, and explained that we were considering an expansion of our service level with them. The rep was quite responsive, but then came the letdown: our account was “too small” to qualify for a dedicated sales rep. The company’s policies prohibited the existing rep from helping me, so the request had to be sent to another department.

I could focus on several problems with this scenario, but I’ll limit my commentary to the small versus big issue. In short, you should never tell a customer they’re too small to warrant a given level of service — especially if you provided them with that level of attention in the past. Instead, align your story with their business needs. For instance, my sales rep could have said that their department isn’t familiar with the current specials and promotions that would apply to an account of our size. And if there isn’t any real alignment between your customer segments and the staff that serve them, perhaps it’s time to re-examine how you’re segmenting your customers in the first place.