I don’t need to read a Harvard Business Review Study to know about the natural attrition of sales. If you’re a professional sales person, you are keenly aware of your average retention rate, and the certainty that you will not maintain all your accounts for a long period of time.
There are some accounts I’ve had for fifteen years, and some, half as long. I’ve lost some work to the down-and-dirty group printing of on-line printers or the previously printed items that have gone completely digital. Sometimes I’ll lose a client over price, but not usually. Why? I represent an expertise in printing, not just me, but all the experienced people in my plant. We provide our clients with alternatives, solutions and analytical experience in buying efficiently. Helping clients to analyze their purchases on a yearly budget will typically put less money in my pocket in the long run, but because of that assistance they remain valued clients.
Which brings me to the hype about leveraging technology to retain clients. People maintain clients, not technology. Technology is just a tool, and a tool to be used very wisely. People will always differentiate your business.
I was at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and the clerk told me they couldn’t locate it. She then looked behind me and said “next.” I moved to the side for a moment, frozen, not really knowing what to do. As I stood there my face became red and I felt the embarrassment of being dismissed so I left the store and drove home. I was too frustrated to talk to anyone in management, I was speechless.
Ten minutes later my phone rang and the pharmacist said they had located my prescription. I shared my experience with being dismissed and the pharmacist then shared with me that they had everyone looking for the prescription when I was there and they couldn’t figure out why I had left the store. Wouldn’t that have been good information for the clerk to share with me?
There are various ways to communicate, and they include not only verbal and written communication but also subtle eye contact and body language. Usually the communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the message of the sender. What have you left unsaid lately?
Tomorrow at 1pm many of us in Dallas will say our formal goodbye to our colleague, Ron Hagood. Ron was a friend to many and that will be even more difficult. Then, there’s his family and I am positive their sadness is immense.
I truly appreciated Ron and knew he was a trusted colleague. I have to admit though that I couldn’t classify him as a friend. As a friend I would have known his wife and his children’s names. I did know his church affiliation because we talked about his faith, and that gives me comfort knowing he had faith.
Whether out of respect, friendship or love, our celebration of Ron’s life will be bittersweet. Ron was a veteran of the Graphic Arts Industry who in his work life developed relationships with many people. Now, it is with sadness that we join his family to say our goodbye’s. Ron will truly be missed.