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Client Retention: The key to long term success and profitability

Golden GooseWork is booming right now. Particularly so in the single and multi-family sectors. This writer is pretty long in the tooth and remembers how cyclic our industry is. Boom today could be bust in just a few months. We don’t predict that happening; we just know that too many of us don’t keep in mind how important client retention is. Another trap some members are fighting is their dearth of available time leading to putting out whatever fire is most expedient at the time. Sooner or later, that kind of management will bite you. Staff appropriately or risk eventually losing that backlog.

With all the studies out there on the cost of finding a new customer, you would think that the relatively low cost of retaining a client would be a no-brainer. Oh, would it not be so! Today, we will spend a few moments pondering the obvious and not so obvious. Read along with me.


Top of Mind

What does it take to be an ace salesperson? The perfect product that is in demand? Great training, an incredible script, superior leads, a wonderful team that delivers on time and perfectly? What about better pricing than your competitors and industry respect? Could you name some other factors that would ensure your success? I’ll bet you could. However, none of these factors by themselves or in combination will not ensure your success.

In over 40 years of buying and selling I’ve heard every reason for success or lack thereof. I’ve seen this or that surefire sales technique, method, strategy or fad and, I’ve seen them reborn and recast in different names and at different times. Ever since the first wine was sold by a merchant perhaps 20,000 years ago some were good at it and some were not. Why are some more successful than others?



None of us are above the need for the occasional reminder or the need to once again be reminded of what’s important. Most of our readers are small business people. That means we have many roles that tug at us constantly. That’s why it is important to occasionally review what’s important, what I call first order tasks. While everyone has their favorite list, here’s a friends list of the 10 Commandments of Selling that I think is particularly well done Let it be a great springboard for further conversation and review. Here they are along with my comments.


Mark Twain was fascinated by those river pilots who spent their entire lives learning and relearning the ever changing meandering of the mighty Mississippi. With drought and then floods, the mighty Mississippi was a challenge to keep up with, then and now. It was impossible to learn the right way to cruise that river once and for all as the ever changing shoals, sandbars and currents constantly rewrote the charts with not so much as a mind your manners glance. We too must be pilots on our uncharted journey. Never much of a fan of group think, leadership and innovation are among the single most important qualities top management can bring to the table these days. Today we will discuss basic concepts and ideas that will help you and your company prosper regardless of the economic conditions that come and go just as the channel constantly shifts on the mighty Mississippi. Let’s give it a go; shall we?


Let’s start with the obvious…every salesperson wants to sell his/her services to their particular market. That’s a given. However, that’s all which is pretty much a certainty. Acquiring and holding profitable customers is the end game for Sales people, Business Owners and other Managers. Too often the optics is flat wrong. For many, the sales process winds up being a static two dimensional problem rather than the moving and three dimensional process that it is. At least every other blog entry I publish, I go out of my way to state that selling requires more planning, effort, smarts and dedication than probably any other position in your company. If it looks easy, it is because someone has spent a very long time figuring out the ins and outs of the process and continually puts his/her best foot forward. For most of us though, selling is a little bit like cornering that big game tiger only to find out that it is you and not he who is cornered.



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