When the pressure is on, we give attention to what makes the most noise. This is a good habit if you have small children or pets at home. Their cries are usually good indicators that something is amiss.
As adults, we are conditioned to respond to what makes noise. What commands our attention. As business owners, we need to be more pro-active and intentional in our choices.
Many years ago, I was faced with too many deadlines and not enough time. My decision was to call a prospect to re-schedule the series of meetings that had been booked to get them signed up and fully onboarded. Not surprisingly, they complained and told me that I should be prioritizing their needs as they were new customers. I politely informed them that, ‘No. My priority was with my existing customers to ensure that their needs, deadlines and expectations were met.’ Happy to say that they signed the contract without hesitation! They had confidence that working with me meant that they would get the level of service and treatment I had promised. Not only were they happy, I was happy knowing that I had landed a high quality customer that valued more than the price of my services.
In another situation, the company I was working for had two major proposals due on the same day. One was for a long-term high value client (HVC) and the other for a first-time client (FTC) that we had no experience with. Management instructed us to focus on the first-time client and to “not worry” about delivering the proposal to the HVC late because “they never complain and they always pay”. This is completely backwards!!!!
Neglecting a high-value client will never serve you in the long run and will often bite you unpleasantly when you can least afford it. As in, they cancel their contract with you at the same time that you do not land the first-time client that you sacrificed them for.
I like to think about it this way. If your best friend from grade school was going through a health crisis, would you ditch them on Friday night to go dancing with the newbie you met at the dog park? Certainly not!
You’ve likely heard the phrase Know-Like-Trust. (If not, here is a great article by David Albrecht, Ph.D. to learn more.) This is the TRUST component. Your existing clients have placed their trust and confidence in you. Imagine how they might react if they knew that you were taking them for granted.
The point of this is to encourage you to have a look at your client list and prioritize those that you value but have been neglecting. We spend a great deal of time, money and energy to land new clients. Serving them well and maintaining the relationship must be priority one.
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