The ROI is Always in the Relationship!

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Everyone Wears Sneakers These Days!


I recently had a stopover at JFK airport and decided to have my cowboy boots polished. I’d always seen people stop and do this and for once I wasn’t sprinting to catch a connection so I decided to indulge.

I was traveling with my friend Anita and she was doing some shopping so I told her I was going to get my boots cleaned and call my husband.

When I arrived at the polishing station I went to pull out my phone and realized how rude it would be to have a warm body in front of me, working on my boots while I had a conversation with Simon.

Practicing what I preach I kept the phone off and decided to be fully engaged with the shoe shiner! We had a great conversation about where he was originally from, what happened to the gentleman who used to work the station before he took over and I walked away with a reminder of a huge life lesson!

As he worked on my boots, I asked how business was going. He sighed and said, “Everyone wears sneakers these days, no one wants their shoes polished”.  I listened and then observed.  I watched loads of travelers walk by with sneakers on yes, but I also watched hundreds of people bustle by with gorgeous Italian loafers and black shiny shoes!

I was reminded that as entrepreneurs a huge part of our success is how we see the world. I saw opportunity for this gentleman at the same rate he saw misfortune. Not “everyone” wears sneakers and not “everyone” has spent their budgets in your world.

2008 was a banner year in my business because I blocked out the news that said “No one is buying” and I went looking for the people who were! Look for the people who are willing and able to use your services, who need your help and just need to be found!

Unless you’re selling rotary phones, the world is literally your oyster with unlimited potential!

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Complacency- The ROI Killer


You may have heard the statistics before but they’re worth mentioning again.  When a client stops working with an organization there are a few factors involved, perhaps a geographic move, a death or they no longer have a need for the service.  However a staggering 68% of customers will leave an organization to go work with, or purchase from, another company because of perceived indifference on the vendor’s part! Even if the original company provided an excellent service at the time, great product and pricing the client will leave if they feel the supplier is unappreciative of their patronage. That’s a compelling reason to stay in constant contact with your clients!

Here are 6 easy ways to stay connected with your clients…

1. Handwritten note – send clients a personal note thanking them for their past business.  Remind them that you’re there as a resource to provide new ideas or answer any questions they have about trends in your market.

2. Personal call – phone your clients, check in and make sure that they know you’re available to them.  Let them know you want to make sure you’re being proactive about their account.  This is not a sales call, this is a call conduct a temperature check on the service you’re providing and thank them for their business.

3. Stop by – if you’re in the area, stop by your client’s office.  Drop off a promotional piece discreetly branded with your company name and information.  Thank them once again for their loyalty to your organization and remind them that you’re there to help in any way you can. Your useful gift will serve as a goodwill piece as well as generate residual marketing exposure in your client’s workspace or home.

4. Network – connect existing clients to other clients that may have the potential for a strategic partnership.  Introduce your contacts to one another.  Remember, looking for ways to help your clients reach their goals is a surefire way to solidify your relationship and communicate that you care about them as a person in addition to the business they bring to your organization.

5. Unsolicited proposals – if you come across a special offer or important market update that will benefit your client, be sure to be proactive with proposals.  If you’re selling a product, have they purchased something in the past that is currently on special? Reach out and let them know you came across an offer that they may want to take advantage of.  If you’re in the service business, perhaps a mortgage broker and interests rates have lowered and your client can take advantage of some significant savings, be proactive and send an unsolicited offer.

6. Lunches –schedule a lunch with your clients.  Now is the time to listen to what’s happening in their world.  It’s not time to pitch a new idea or ask for a sale.  Lunches are a wonderful way to reconnect and hear about your client’s goals, dreams, aspirations and challenges.  Naturally you’ll discuss business matters but keep lunches light and focused on getting to know your client.  Thank them once again for the business and remind them that you’re always around if they have any questions or concerns about the company.

Remember, complacency is a silent killer! Many people who feel you’re indifferent to their business will simply leave and go elsewhere.  Be sure to take action with one or a combination of these strategies to further increase loyalty and ultimately the bottom-line.