How much time do you spend with the senior staff of you customers? I’ll bet not much – that’s not good. I’ll also bet that if by chance you do know them, you check-in to only say hello and see if there is anything they can give you – that’s not good again. And if you don’t know them, you only try to gain access to them when there’s something you want – that’s really not good.

When I first started selling my consulting and sales training services, one of my prospects was Mark who worked for an outsourcing food service company. He tried to help me get hired but it never happened. I’d occasionally check in to see if there were any opportunities and he cordially gave me some insights and once an introduction.

A few years later his company was acquired by a big, international entity. I was doing a little work in one of their other divisions but never took the time to check in with Mark and see what was going on with him. Then I caught wind that a big corporate initiative was on for sales training. My coaches in the one division could only help so much. So I reached out to Mark. I called and left him a voicemail with a brief explanation of what was happening. He called me back. The words he left on my voicemail where, “Hi there. Is this ‘Only Call Me When You Need Me Sam’.” I got the message.

Most sales people and managers only schedule visits with senior executives when they want something. Visits at the lower levels happen more regularly, but usually for the same reason – help or wanting. Your contacts and their bosses recognize this and consequently try to get rid of you – either politely or by refusing to see you. Consequently no relationship building or relationship enhancement takes place.

You know enough to stay current with your main contacts. But, if you don’t stay current with their senior staff, and make it about them, you’re perceived as an “Only call me when you need me Sam.” Under these conditions they may help you once. After that, they’ll feel used. You’ll appear self serving and they will want to avoid you. Obviously this is not good for maintaining relationships.

Make It about Them

Now when you have a meeting and say, “How can we help you with …?” the resounding message that comes across is that it’s all about you. See the word “we” is the killer. There is a big difference between the above statement and, “What problems are you having with …?” The second statement is all about the person you’re talking with. C-Levels, doctors, and high government officials, as well as subordinates, like it when it’s all about them.

Prepare Yourself

List those companies you’ve sold in the last 12-18 months. For each contact make a list with the names of your main contact; the boss; the boss’s boss; others with power. Next to each name indicate, the last contact date and whether or not the meeting was about you or the person. More specifically, what did you get out of it, and what did the other person get out of it.

Now Make an Action Plan

Anyone who hasn’t been contacted in the last 3 months needs to be contacted asap.

For those you’ve talked with, what have you done for them lately that’s enhancing or maintaining your professional relationships? Have they acknowledged it? If not, what you’ve done is probably only significant to you.

If s/he does realize you’ve helped her or him, it’s time for you to get some help back – a referral, critical information, more sales. But you’ll have to ask for it.

Stay current with the executive staff of you current customers and you’ll keep and grow their business.

And now I invite you to learn more.

SPECIAL BONUS OFFER: If you liked this article grab an autographed copy of TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER$ by Sam Manfer. This 160 page best selling book is full of great selling tips for closing sales, handling price objections, beating competition, overcoming other selling challenges, and of course C-level selling.

Author's Bio: 

Sam Manfer is an expert sales strategist, entertaining key note speaker and author of TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER$, The Complete Guide to C-Level Selling - getting to and influencing top level decision-makers. Sam makes it easy for any sales person to generate quality leads, and become a 70% closer. Sign-Up for Sam’s FREE E-Books, Articles and other Advanced Sales Training Tips at