Back in 2002, when I was a partner at a technology company, a client surprised us with an unannounced visit. He drove five hours from his corporate office. Arrived wearing jeans, Tony Lama’s and his signature Tommy Bahama shirt.
He hung out with our staff. Handed out gifts — plaques denoting his appreciation to everyone involved in working on his project.
Later that day, he joined us at The Cliffs in Shell Beach. He bought dinner, handed out cigars. We stood near the gazebo and toasted as the sun deposited itself into its piggy bank horizon.
Then he handed each of us an envelope. I stumbled in my efforts to vocalize sentiment. The best I could come up with was something along the lines of “man this is so over the top and completely unnecessary.”
“Never forget who brung ya.” he said, grinning.
Back then, his account was the life-giving deal that birthed our young company from the canal of anonymity. He would say that his gesture was a little gratitude for the big work we did to help launch his new idea. I would disagree. His gesture, one of many, taught me much about creating lifelong clients.
Who was your first customer? You know, the one who took a risk on you before you were a proven anything? They brung ya.
Who was your last client? The one who bought into your reputation. Believed in the word of mouth about your company. Your service. Or maybe they were someone who took a gamble on faith. They brung ya too.
Do they feel forgotten? What have you done to keep them believing, loving, heralding you?
Do they know how deeply woven into the fabric of your success story they are? If not, why?
Better yet, forget why. Instead get busy dusting off the memory. Wake your customers up from their dead dream. Shock them. Amaze them.
Vendors, brokers, agents: Find that gazebo where you can stun your customers and partners into speechlessness.
Sunset from The Cliffs