The Crocus and the Customer


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I am officially declaring spring to have arrived. Living in the Midwest, I realize I could be jumping the gun a little, but my number one sign has recently appeared and the weather has been terrific so I am going out on a limb.

One of the first flowers to bloom each spring is the crocus. There is not much to this tiny flower and many people probably don’t appreciate it. I do. I respect the little guy. This flower has such a thick stalk that it can barely support it own weight. Yet many years, the first crocus to bloom actually finds it way to daylight through a layer of snow.

For me, the crocus is spring. It is the first sign of renewal, the rebirth of flowers and trees after what can be a tough few months of winter (I say “can be” because every once in while our winters are mild like this year).

Spring is also a great time to think about renewing relationships with key customers. Too often we let these relationships roll along, almost taking them for granted. It can be easy to think everything is going along just fine, why rock the boat? It’s time for renewal, but what does that mean? Here are some things to try…

  1. The Unexpected. Often the most impactful things you can do to energize a relationship are seemingly insignificant, but because they are unexpected they leave a lasting impression with your customer. Send a birthday card, call and check in for no reason, anything they would appreciate and not expect you to do.
  2. The Dramatic. You probably should save this one for times when you really need it … drastic times and drastic measures kind of stuff. Make them an offer that appears “out there.” For example, if a customer has been complaining about the price of a proposed product or solution (and you are confident of its fit and value), tell them to pay you what they think it’s worth. That puts the burden on them and will force them to justify their concerns over the price. Most importantly, and this is where the renewal comes from, they will understand your confidence in your value.
  3. The Challenging. This is a great time to sit back and challenge yourself. Are you delivering enough value to your customers? Are you giving them your best stuff, your best thinking, your best work? If you aren’t, now’s the time.
  4. The Collaborative. There is nothing more effective at building relationships than working together to solve tough problems. When you and a customer collaborate to tackle challenges, it becomes the two of you against the world.

Spring is a great reminder of the power of renewal and the impact it can have. Flowers and trees bloom in the spring and those blooms are the basis for more flowers and trees to grow. Same with our customers. Relationships must be constantly renewed and refreshed, and that plants the seeds for more and better relationships in the long run.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Phil Bounsall
As president at Walker, Phil is focused on the development and execution of strategies and operating plans designed to enhance Walker's position as a global leader in customer strategy consulting. Phil leads Walker's efforts in the areas of business impact consulting and mergers and acquisition services.


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