Today, with great sorrow, I say goodbye to a dear friend.

Despite years of meticulous care and nurture, I simply couldn’t save her. Why? Because, while I thought I loved her … I simply didn’t care enough.

Be honest, is your relationship with your customers really any different?

Today, I give up on my bonsai tree … and here’s why it’s relevant to your business.

I Did Everything I Could…

When she was alive

That’s her on the right. Look at how full and beautiful and green she was.

For more than two years, I cared for this plant. Most of my clients will tell you that they’ve heard the spritzing of her spray bottle on many a conference call while I mist her leaves. I bought and fed her special bonsai food, opened windows to give her fresh air whenever possible, made sure she received direct sunlight. I did everything I could for her.

…Or Did I?

When I look back, I was simply doing the basics … the bare minimum to keep her alive. And it was clearly not enough. I now understand that bonsai trees require being repotted once a year with fresh soil. They can easily be over-watered. They need to stay away from heat sources and they love humidity.

It’s not that I didn’t care and it’s not that any of these care instructions are difficult … I simply didn’t take the effort to look into it.

I’ll bet that you’re doing everything you can for your customers too. Or are you? Be sure that you’re not simply doing the bare minimum to keep them around because it won’t be enough. Look into it … ask them how they are doing, what they need from you, what additional care you can provide.

It Went Sideways Quickly…

One day I came into the office and she looked faded and brown. It seemingly happened overnight.

…Or Did It?

I simply wasn’t paying attention. She was still green, so all was well, but her needles had been dropping more and she’d been gradually fading for some time.

One day, you’ll come into the office and your customers will be gone. When they leave, it’ll seem like it is a sudden, overnight change. But it’s not. They have likely been fading for some time and you haven’t noticed. After all, you were still getting their green money, so all was well.

When I Finally Noticed, It Was Too Late

When I noticed that she was starting to brown, I launched into panic mode! Scrambling, I started researching, repotting, fertilizing … everything that I SHOULD have been doing all along.

Despite my efforts, she continued to brown. As the green slowly drains from her needles, my hope sadly drains with it. She’s gone.

When you notice that there’s a problem with a customer, it’s often also too late. We often launch into panic mode after we recognize an issue. Suddenly doing all the things that we SHOULD have been doing all along. And it’s almost always too late. They are gone.

It’s Cheaper to Keep ‘Er

It would have cost nothing but time and effort to keep her bright and green. Now, if I chose to replace her, it’ll be expensive.

Be honest, is your relationship with your customers really any different?

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