No reason to call? Call anyway


envelopeI recently had a birthday, which was going well until my husband, John,  showed me the day’s mail.  “I hope this doesn’t ruin your day,” he said, as he handed me an envelope.  It was one of those ominous envelopes with impressive seals, logos, etc. and lots of official looking language showing through the little window.  From the clerk of the court here in town. 

I thought to myself, well, let’s open it up and see how bad it is.  Inside was a letter which essentially said, “It’s not always bad news when you hear from us.  Have a great birthday!”  No summons, no nothing but a wish for me.  It was clever and funny and completely surprising.  My view of the clerk of the court’s “brand” took a big upward turn.

It reminded me of a project that I once did for a CEO.  He asked me to interview a dozen of his top customers.  These top customers did not always do the same amount of  business with him year in and year out and he was particularly interested in the kinds of  “relationship activities” the customers would value and how this would affect the business flow. 

Many of the customer executives said the same things to me in the interviews.   They said that the annual conference and education the company provided were good.  That going out to lunch now and then with their salesperson was fine.  That knowing they could pick up the phone and reach the CEO personally was a good thing.  But what would really set them apart, they said, would be if the salespeople called or came by now and then with absolutely no purpose but to say,”hello, how are you?”  And with no attempt, no matter how subtle, to sell them something. 

I don’t think many sales organizations factor this thinking into their productivity calculations.  I have tried to put that feedback to work in my own consulting practice.  I slip and backslide but I try. 

 This blog is about making work work for you.  The number one thing you can do to make work work for you is to find the work that fits you.  The number one thing that assures your sustained success is how you manage your relationships.  Let the people who are crictical to your success or have been critical to your success in the past know you appreciate them – without asking them for something.  It will surprise them because so few people do it.



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