We’ve all seen sporting stars and celebs get dropped by sponsors and advertisers when they do something stupid in public, or they say something that is in contrast to popular public opinion or the beliefs and values of their sponsors.
For example, Kate Moss was dropped by Chanel when she was photographed snorting cocaine, and everyone would remember the drama Tiger Woods faced from his sponsors during his marital indiscretions.
This Is Different
Well, this is not exactly what I’m talking about in this article. What I want to discuss are advertisers that go running in the opposite direction when they think you’re no longer a source of income for them.
For the past 25 years I’ve owned and operated a podiatry business in Cairns, and over this period of time, I have spent more than a million dollars in advertising. I’ve always been a firm believer that marketing is an investment, not an expense and as long as you're getting a good ROI on your investment it's a significant investment.
My Last Year
In my last year, before selling my podiatry business, my marketing budget was about $100,000 for the year, which included:
- A corporate box at the Cairns Taipans, which is our local basketball team in the NBL.
- Season tickets to the Northern Pride’s Legends Bar, our local Rugby League Team in the state league
- Sponsorship of various events
- Lunches and networking events
- Online marketing
- My old-school favourites, radio, newspaper and television.
When I sold my business, the new owners decided not to renew most of the previous advertising and sponsorship agreements, as they had their ideas on how a podiatry business should be marketed.
As a result, which took me by total surprise, was being dropped like a bad habit by every sales rep, Media Company and sporting organisation I had spent money with over the past 25 years.
Talk about getting the cold shoulder.
Now I understand you cannot invest money into past clients the same as you would with your current clients, but over the past two years, I have not even received a phone call asking if I’d like to catch up for a coffee and talk about my plans in the future.
I was only 50 when I sold my last podiatry business so there’s a big chance I will be doing something else in the not too distant future.
Lesson For Sales Reps
But unfortunately, many sales reps and Media Companies cannot see past this month’s target and quarterly budget, and that is why I’m sharing this story with you because I think there’s a fundamental lesson to be learnt here, especially if you’re in sales.
You need to be thinking long-term
In an ideal world every client would stay with your business forever and increase how much they spend each year, but for one reason or another, that’s not going to happen because in life circumstances change, people move away, businesses do get sold.
But this doesn’t mean your communications with your clients should immediately stop.
Great Referral Source
Maintaining contact with someone that has been a good client for a long period of time is a relationship that should be maintained, even if there is no longer any financial gain for you right now.
The best salespeople I know are the ones that take a genuine interest in maintaining and building relationships with people, long after the transaction has concluded because they also know that this past client could also be an ongoing source of referrals.
Next Business Idea
Currently, I am in the process of developing a new business idea and if all goes to plan it will launch in the New Year. But will I be rushing to any of my past sales reps, media companies or sporting organisations who have dropped me like a bad habit and not spoken to me over the past two years?
If you’re in sales, and I think we’re all in sales in one way or another, start taking a long-term view of both your current and past clients and nurture these relationships.
And if you're a Podiatrist or in the health industry and in private practice, or considering going into private practice quite soon, do not undervalue the benefits of having a business coach or mentor because you will get the results you're after much faster.
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