I was speaking with a friend this morning — really he is more than a friend, he is a client (miss that and you miss the whole story).
Well, the truth is he is my client and I am his client … and we are friends. Brothers, in a very real way.
His business is tiered. There’s an entry-level point and several different investment levels. Some of his clients bring in only $120 or so each year. Some bring that much an hour.
His tech guy wasn’t available, so my friend was helping me get a new customer set up — one I had referred to him. I called him directly. He said the tech team doesn’t like that. We needed to make sure we had a proper “Trouble Ticket” open.
Do you have Trouble Tickets for your customers?
Says my friend, “This is a lot of work. We’ve been on the phone for 45 minutes now. Maybe 15 minutes of that has been catching up on personal matters, but I can’t afford to put 30 minutes of my time into a new client. I should be charging a pretty penny for that.”
He didn’t mean anything personal. He wasn’t haranguing me for contacting him. He was just thinking aloud, wondering if he should implement a new policy.
That makes sense, right? A business that gives time away will soon go broke. A CEO who gets his hands dirty in the trenches is wasting time, right?
I don’t think so. Here’s why.
After we got off the phone (Skype, actually; he is overseas), I got to thinking about that idea. Should he tack on an extra bill or two when new people need help getting set up? Aren’t his prices low enough as they are?
Seems to me, there are several reasons why he should not just help new people, but go out of his way to help them (as he did me today) and not take a dime from them — even if they beg to pay him.
- You never get a second chance to make a first impression. By cementing the relationship up front, you are setting the stage for a long and mutually beneficial relationship.
- When you impress someone with the quality of your service, especially when you go out of your way to help, then that person is much more likely to tell others and to give you good referrals.
- That new client may be entering on the low tier, but could very well rise up to higher tiers. Even if the low level investment is maintained, the lifetime value of the customer is well worth the extra effort.
An example from Church
We lived in Appalachian Kentucky for a while. Some of the congregations there would station deacons outside the door of the church building.
If you were dressed improperly or didn’t smell just right (maybe a little moonshine on your breath), you would either be told to go home and come back when you cleaned up your act a bit, or you would be seated in the rear pew and closely watched to make sure you were minding your manners.
Do you think those visitors felt welcome? Do you think they were inclined to ever return again?
It’s the same way in business. Don’t just tolerate people who don’t look exactly like you wish they would look. Heck no. Invite them right up front. Introduce them to the boss. Offer the best you have and make sure those new folks know you like and appreciate them.
The moral of the story
The seller/client relationship is sacred. It is about giving and receiving, and we are all on both sides of the stick every day.
Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Appreciate them the way you would want to be appreciated. Give them your very best service and then press it on a few more yards. Go out of your way to be kind.
Sounds like selling?
Sounds line something extraordinary?
And so are you.
** P.S. … the trick is to go the extra mile without complaining. Whimper and you blow the whole deal.