Being a successful account executive requires a delicate balancing act – divvying up time and resources to effectively find new business while also maintaining strong relationships with your existing clientele. Account Executives must find a way to focus both on meeting the needs of their customers as well as the business. It’s not a cakewalk, to say the least. Practicing some fundamental rules can make things easier for you. It can also improve the experience for your clients and customers. That said, here 5 rules to live by as an Account Executive.
Rule #1: Be personal.
The first rule of being a great Account Executive is to remember the personal side of business. Take the time to tune into your client’s needs and wants. Keep track of the details whenever you interact with them. Get to know their hobbies, their pastimes and their passions. Learn about their pain points and what keeps them up at night. These details will enable you to nurture and strengthen those relationships, which can dramatically improve customer loyalty over time.
Rule #2: Share openly.
Your customers look to you to provide them with something they don’t have, whether it’s a particular product, a certain service or solution, or simply your expertise in a given area. Don’t be stingy with your knowledge and experience. Give openly and freely to your customers. Focus more on informing, educating and enhancing your clients rather than trying hard to sell to them. Make every contact an opportunity to deliver something of value to your customers and they will reward you with their continued business.
Rule #3: Be accountable.
Short-term wins are great, but they won’t sustain your goals for the long haul. As an AE, you must view yourself as an advocate not just for your company but for your customer as well. This will enable you to always keep their best interest in mind. For instance, when discussing the possibility of a new purchase or change in service plan, always take a step back and ask if it truly makes sense for the client, both now and in the long run. When your customers know that you’ll always do the right thing for them, they’ll give you their trust for years to come, which is far more valuable than a fast sale any day.
Rule #4: Be honest.
If you’re not going to meet that deadline, don’t beat around the bush or start dodging phone calls. Be honest and communicative with your customers. When prices are going up, don’t try to sugarcoat things or make excuses. Be straightforward. Honesty and transparency aren’t always easy, especially when the news isn’t exactly positive, but in the long run your customers will appreciate the gesture and respect you more for keeping it real.
Rule #5: Never stop learning.
Being the last to find out about something that affects your customers is poor form. Instead, make a point to stay on top or ahead of industry trends, current events and anything else that is impacting your client’s world. Stock prices skyrocketing (or tanking)? New competitor hitting the market? Executive controversy in the headlines? Staying informed will help you better serve your customers, which will in turn benefit your company.
By following the above rules, you’ll be able to consistently provide much better service and bring even more value to your customers. As a result, you’ll build and strengthen healthier relationships, which is better for everyone.