Customer for Life?
During a recent conversation, a friend and I were discussing business. I asked him how long he had been working with a particular client. ’1982′ was his answer. Thirty years of providing professional services and expertise to anyone is a long time. When you factor in the level of competition in my friend’s profession, the client type and fickleness of some consumers, 30 years is almost a lifetime. I then asked how he had secured the client.
This particular client was looking for an expert to serve them and their particular needs in a very demanding and, at times, volatile marketplace. In fact, they were in the midst of doing what you might call a screening process. They were reviewing the professional backgrounds of recommended candidates and my friend’s track record was of interest to them. In short, they had heard of him (you might say his reputation had preceded him), interviewed him, retained his services and he has been serving them for 30 years.
How does this happen?
Well, first it helps to be good at what you do. To become good takes both focus and effort. You must focus on constantly improving your game and your skills, strive to be the best, concentrate on what is necessary versus required and make sacrifices to be more than average. The professional services marketplace does not pay much for ‘average’, nor will it employee ‘average’ for an extended period of time. Those that separate themselves from ‘average’ work 10-12+ hour days usually more than five days per week. They continually advance their education and learn new skills, while maintaining balance and real priorities. In short – discipline.
Second, your reputation will precede you if you put your client ahead of you. Serving means we place the needs of another ahead of our own. Clients, family, friends, constituents smell our intentions. They know when we are the real deal or otherwise. Serving requires heart and you just can’t fake that. Well, at least not for long.
Finally, you must be passionate about all of the above. Otherwise you’ll sell yourself short. Sell yourself short, why on earth would you do that? Life is too short.
By the way, never order Blowfish from someone that is willing to sell themselves short.