Managing Expectations

A big part of the successful sales and new customer onboarding process is that of managing their expectations. It might even be the most critical factor between success and failure. You want what they think is going to happen to be the same as what you think is going to happen. Any discrepancy therein can spell disaster for you. One way to do it is with documents that answer all their questions even before they ask them.

In my food companies in the ‘80s and ‘90s, we communicated what their expectations should be to whichever target audience we had, in the style they were used to: natural food distributor or supermarket chain or ice cream shop or Diet Center® or importer or food manufacturer. More information is better than less.

One example of botching the process: after years of doing a third of all our business with just Trader Joe’s, they decided suddenly to throw it to a competitor instead, a large multi-national conglomerate. A month later we were back in, as if nothing had happened. The big company screwed up the process… and it would later cost them $3.7 million to get back in by buying me out.

The following are the tools we used to manage customer expectations in various segments successfully, technical, ordering, as well as usage info:

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