As yet another year winds down and we look forward to new year ( which I hope you have already planned for. Remember as January goes, so goes your year!) I would be remiss if I did not stop and reflect on all the things I am thankful for this year. I know this is something we do and say a lot this time of year but as I look back and put things in perspective on my business in 2012 there is one thing that clearly stands out having the most impact on my success this year…and as I looked at it, it became even more clear that this one priceless commodity has influenced my business outcomes each and every year. WOW! As a matter of fact, I’ll bet that this one thing has been a driving force in each of your business outcomes too. So, are you curious to know?
The greatest measure of success for any business is its ability to gain and maintain customers for life. It is the power of retention. Retention is simply keeping satisfied customers on the books. Once they sign on the dotted line, they don’t go anywhere…they have no reason to look elsewhere! There is exponential power in high retention. Let’s explore this concept with the illustration of a tree.
It all begins with your MARKETPLACE. This is where you work; this is your business, your community. Hopefully you have built your operation in fertile ground. One day a customer you have developed or who has chosen you as a provider gives you their business, they have said yes. This is represented by a SEED (Customer). This is the beginning of things to come. It is critical you understand the value of the seed. You can’t ignore it or just plant it anywhere for if you do, the seed might never take off…it will die!
To insure the best opportunity for the seed or relationship to grow, you care for it by nurturing it with great service. You purposefully and consistently follow up to make sure you are doing all you can to give your seed its greatest chance to mature. As you do this, something great begins to take place, your seed (customer) begins to develop a strong ROOT SYSTEM.
There are specific components to the root system. It is comprised of your PRODUCTS and SERVICES, your PERFORMANCE and your COMMUNICATION. Let me explain.
There is a direct correlation between products and services owned and high retention. The more I do business with you the more rooted I become. It should be the goal of each of us to be the provider of choice regarding every product and service we offer. The roots are further developed through proactive performance and communication. The way you treat and inform your customers validates their worth to you. Look for opportunities to perform and initiate new ideas and solutions for your customers and clients. Now the roots are expansive!
While the root system determines the strength of the tree, the external health of the tree is validated in the TRUNK of the tree. This is the perception of the relationship. Just as you can see the health of a tree by its trunk, so too can you see the value of choosing you through your developing relationships.
Finally, and this is where the point of my article comes into play, there are exponential opportunities afford to us when we consistently care for those we serve. These opportunities are represented by the LEAVES of the tree, there are too many to count. You see a long term; satisfied customer does two very important things for your business. One, they give you first opportunity at all their business. From the first to the last, you are the provider of choice. Secondly, one healthy tree can produce enough seeds to create a forest! Your existing customers can introduce you to others and provide you countless favorable opportunities to grow your business exponentially or referrals.
As I look back at my business outcomes, it is very clear that the entirety of my business has been a result of repeat opportunities or favorable introductions from those who know me best. I cannot put a price tag to express the value and the POWER of high retention.
So there you go, my challenge to each of us is to stop and take a moment to be thankful for those who have said “yes” to us. While we will always strive to seek new business and new opportunities, let us NEVER forget the ones who brought us to the dance!