Why Your Customers Are Like Your Teeth


And here’s why you may need to be taking care of both a lot better.

People know they have to take care of their teeth because they’re the only set they’ll ever have. Salespeople could learn a lesson from this mindset.

Yes, I know, most successful salespeople have at least a handful, or dozens, maybe even hundreds of clients, depending on their line of work.

You were obviously good enough at your job to get them. But it’s what you do next with your customers that matters. Like your teeth, if you’re not caring for them every day, you’ll lose them.

Let’s be honest with ourselves: There are very few novel products or solutions. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the market for SaaS software, electric vehicles, consumer products or media advertising; there are very few unique products. Customers have a lot of choices. And they make decisions not just based on the litany of advantages you detail about what your product does better than your competition. They make decisions based on you.

You are something they see and feel. You are the differentiator.

I’m hesitant to share too many personal stories about why this matters, for fear it’ll make me look egotistical. But just like you, all I’ve got is my own experience. So here goes one: Back in the days before cell phones, I used to give prospective customers my home phone number. Call me at midnight on Christmas Eve, I told them, and I’ll answer.

It wasn’t a ploy for their business. I meant it. And in an age when not everyone was available at every moment, that was a distinguishing factor. I can’t quantify for you what sharing my home number did for my business. But I do remember the looks on the faces of those prospective customers. It mattered then, and still matters today.

Perhaps not every seller has the time to do what I’m telling them to do: treat each and every customer – no matter their importance to your bottom line – exactly the same. If that’s the case, if they don’t warrant that attention, maybe they shouldn’t be your customer. Maybe you should turn them over to someone who does have that time.

This is where I’d usually offer a checklist to help you. Some methods, like the way in which we’re told from childhood, that brushing, flossing, rinsing and regular checkups are the way to protect this vital asset into the future.

The parallel here is not just the routine, but the care and concern. Yes, you could be diligent about monthly emails and quarterly business reviews. But it’s less about calendar appointments and more about your mindset. If you go into a QBR thinking what more you can get from a customer, you’re not treating them like something that can go away. You’re treating them like someone who will always be there regardless of how you act.

In practice, like so much in sales, retaining your customers is about mindset: Ensuring that your thinking revolves around what you can do for them rather than what they can do for you.

Many a dentist has said, “Take care of your teeth and they’ll take care of you.” Customers are no different. And just like your teeth, everyone will notice if you don’t.

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