5 Random Acts to Lock Down Your Best Customers!

5 Random ActsYour relationship with your spouse or significant other is a focal point in your life. You are familiar with them, and they know you, yet you are wise enough (if you are smart) to constantly show how you feel and at the same time hold up your end of the relationship by doing the perfunctory tasks like paying bills, keeping up the residence, and providing income and services for the family.


You do thoughtful things like bring home flowers, prepare a special meal, present small, thoughtful gifts and keep yourself in the mind and the heart of that special person.

This is what you need to do for your best clients as well. You need to do your job and at the same time do unanticipated acts that show them they are the focus of your efforts.

This sounds corny, but give it some thought.  So many sales professionals look for the new sale, and forget that your best future customers are your current customers.  The current customer’s tendency to by new products, sign-on for subsequent years, and give good referrals to people looking for your product makes your customer a valuable asset even past helping to increase your income.

The 5 Random Acts

Customer retention is important in any sales operation.  Those sales professionals who have solid customer retention are going to experience higher sales and more consistent earnings, along with more opportunities for growth.  Black sales professionals need to “wall off” their most important customers even more vigorously than other professionals: BSJ 4/11/2011-“Wall Off” Your Most Important Customers shows us some ways to do it.

As stated before, and no different than any interpersonal relationship, this is your chance to stay in front of your customer.  Here are some ways how:

  • Small thoughtful gifts
  • Cards and letters
  • Refer some of your other customers to your customer when possible – and let the customer who is the beneficiary know it
  • Business entertainment w/your upper management
  • Share relevant clippings and articles from web and print – with a note

Small Thoughtful Gifts – These gifts should be inexpensive, and in good taste designed to show thought.  Example – Buying a customer a $12.00 frame that will house the picture of him/her and you at the latest outing, fishing trip, etc.  This works, and the customer will not toss the frame, or re-gift it usually if the picture is in the frame.  Know your companies gift policy and check this out: BSJ – Entertainment and Gift Giving Etiquette 11/17/2011

Cards and letters – Almost a lost art, but extremely effective and quite inexpensive.  Use very good stationary and cards, and read how it is most effective here: BSJ – Make Yourself Memorable 2/3/2011

Refer your other customers to this customer – The key is to let him know it.  Make sure that you get your mileage from it.  There is nothing more of an endorsement for your customer than for you to send some of your other valued relationships to them.  Have them call your customer contact directly, and advise them to ‘drop’ your name in the first line of the conversation.

Business entertainment with your company leadership – You may not consider it a treat to ‘break bread’ with your company’s management that often, but you would be amazed at how this brings your customer closer to your organization.  Customers love the attention, and in most organization’s the policies require that the management pick up the tab in stead of you.  Don’t under estimate this one as it can help to lock-up the customer, and endear you to management as well. Check this one out - BSJ – Is Your Sales Manager Managing? 10/17/2011

Share relevant clippings and articles from web and print – with a note – Show the customer that you are thinking about him/her frequently by sharing important information about products, economics, the marketplace and other information from the web, or print.  Keep them informed or someone else will.  Be the expert, and anticipate the client’s need for information.

Strengthening the Bond

Why are these effective?  This one is simple:  They strengthen the relationship.  Remember that in sales ‘relationships are everything’.  It is obviously a topic that I cover often in Black Sales Journal and is discussed further in BSJ – Revisited – Deepening Your Customer Relationships 11/11/2011.

Take a moment to put some of these suggestions to the test.  Strengthen the bond and deepen the relationship, then reap the benefits.  You cannot lose if you do.

Always master the relationship!

Your comments are appreciated. You can reach me at Michael.Parker@BlackSalesJournal.com.

Racial Prejudice, Preference, and Perceptions and Your Customer! A Deep Dive!

The CustoemrThis is, and will remain, an important topic.  No matter whether it is the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or any decade in the 2000s.  Some things will get incrementally better, yet hope that they will change is still an interesting premise.


This post will reinforce the fact that the customer makes choices, and the sales professional must determine the way to interface  and find success.  This post will show clarification of my view on racial perceptions, racial preferences, and racial prejudices. I will also expand on some previous posts as to ways to change increase effectiveness when faced with preferences and prejudice from your prospect or buyer in some of my upcoming posts.   I have dealt with it in earlier posts; yet will impose a more striking angle in the upcoming posts.

The reality is that an understanding of these two items is essential in the day-to-day activities of the Black sales professional.

The 3Ps – Perceptions, Preferences, Prejudices

Racial Prejudice

Perceptions can slowly be changed.  They exist, and come from many sources.  A person’s life experiences, the media, parents, friends, and the knowledge and ignorance of interaction or lack of interaction formperceptions.  When these life experiences are negative, we have negative perceptions that fuel preferences and help substantiate prejudices.

Perceptions are normally wrong based on their application against a group of people based on some input which was either not factual, or was spread across a group of people without warrant. We will talk more about perceptions in an upcoming post, exposing activities that help to give credence to the negative perceptions.

Perceptions are prevalent in all racial and ethnic groups, and we should not criticize perceptions that we disagree with if we are going to carry perceptions of our own which are damaging to other races or ethnic groups.  We all need to fight against this activity.

Racial Preference

Preferences are a different and are powerful.  They are not always meant to be deleterious to a race or ethnic group, yet can have the same effect.   Your customer’s level desire of whom they want to work with is directly related to their relationship comfort.  That does not make it right.   Some of the preferences come from perceptions and some come from prejudice, yet preference is more substantial than those two inputs.  Comfort levels, familiarity, a lack of understanding, and some “lumping” of people into groups based on common elements manifest preference.

As an example, putting all Hispanics or African Americans into respective group on the basis that their ethnic background and “perceived” activities that are similar in nature is a perception which can be damning.  It is not often thought of that way, yet it is true.

Whether it is preference or it is prejudice, the effect is the same; lost opportunities, lack of diversity, locking out of good people of all races and ethnic backgrounds.

Racial Prejudice

Prejudice in life, and what we do from the standpoint of an occupation is wrong.  If we define prejudice as Webster does:

“an irrational attitude of hostility directed against, [in this situation] a group or race”.

It is insidious!

To discriminate because of race, ethnicity, or gender is at the base of everything we should never endorse.  When it comes to sales, it is no different.  It is not manufactured by anything substantive, but is fueled by narrow-mindedness.  I am sure you recognize that if it is wrong for one group, it is wrong for all.

Prejudice changes the landscape.  It cannot necessarily be changed, and any changes may well be short lived.  It robs the Black sales professional of opportunity and in some cases, based on your territory, success, yet exist, and will not be removed from the marketplace in my lifetime.

I will aver in an upcoming post that as sure as we are that prejudice exists, it is much less prevalent than the problems with preference.  This, we need to recognize.  We can change perceptions…we can overcome preference.  Should we spend time trying to solve or sell when prejudice is involved?

Blacks who discriminate against Hispanics or Whites in the sales arena are in the same “boat” as other ethnic groups that discriminate.  Whites who are in positions of power get more attention because of their roles.  The truth is that prejudice whether in a role of power or any role is wrong.

Why is this a Big Deal?

This is a big deal because recognition and tactics are so important for success.  There are tactics to defeat racial preference.  There are tactics to nullify and change negative racial perceptions.  Racial prejudice is different.  It is pervasive and even in situations where you are given the business, a positive relationship does not exist, so the business is potentially borrowed anyway.

There is no situation more gratifying than enjoying your occupation and getting a fair opportunity to perform it to your best ability.  Learning what you can change and what you cannot will conserve energy for redirection to positive tasks, as well as promote growth.

Your comments are welcome.  You can reach me at Michael.Parker@BlackSalesJournal.com.