Last week, I sat down with Jacob, a friend who is a sales rep at an ink and toner supply store. We were exchanging the usual “So, how is the family…how is business?” when Jacob started to look troubled. “You know, Greta, I thought business was going great,” he said. “My sales have been through the roof, and I have more clients than I know what to do with. There is just one thing that has been bothering me the past few weeks.” “What is that?” I asked. “Well, I was reviewing my order totals for the quarter when I saw that my biggest client, ABC Graphics, had ordered only half as much toner in June as it did in May. I was not too surprised. Many of our clients have a slow month here or there. I figured things would pick up. Well, lo and behold, at the end of the next month, not only had ABC Graphics not increased back to its regular toner order, it had barely ordered anything.” I asked, “So tell me something, Jacob. When you recently visited your contact at ABC Graphics, how did it go?” “Well, to be honest, the last time I followed up with them was at the end of last year,” Jacob replied. “I told you we have been crazy—I mean busy—and besides I didn’t have anything new for him, they just want to order and not have us bother them.” Bother them! So why was Jacob rapidly losing ground on his biggest account? Because he did not stay in front of his client, and someone else moved in on his account. And if Jacob’s client perceives a visit as a “bother” then he needs to analyze what he says and does while he’s there. One common characteristic we as salespeople have, is the belief that “once a customer, always a customer.” Of course, as time goes on and good customer service does not, another salesperson sees your client as his prospect. So how can Jacob—or you—make it right? Sit down with your client list the first week of every month and think about each client individually. Then jot down something you can do for each person or company on the list. Take off your salesperson hat and really consider the well-being of your client. Think referrals, introductions, invitations to network with you…anything to make your client say, “Wow, he really does care about me.” Not only will you be helping out your clients, but you will also be keeping the line of communication open regarding your product or service. Then you can resolve their issue instead of your competition doing it…while getting their business. Rather than worrying about the other guy moving in on your clients, take some preventive measures to ensure you are keeping your clients happy. Remember the “givers gain” philosophy: The more you give, the more you get in return. If you are always giving, you will never lose.