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In this economy, do you feel like you have to be in 1000 different places at once? If a customer or prospective customer has an opportunity, you want to be there, always staying close. But never too close.  I know the feeling.

Image: Business Management

The good news is, being out of sight no longer means you have to be out of mind.

With today’s networking tools and social media options, it is easier than ever to stay connected to customer relationships.

That’s important, because a well-maintained positive relationship can decide whether a current customer stays or goes elsewhere.

Relationships can also be the reason a potential prospect selects a new partner.

I feel like we are passionate about helping our customers (and others) and I want to stay closely connected to them, but I want to do it in ways that are most effective. Here is what has worked for me:

● I try to figure out how many times a customer wishes to receive contact from me. Once a week, once a month, once a quarter?

● I determine what time of the day and week they prefer to receive contact. I’ve found some people like to receive non-urgent communication over the weekend, so they can look at it first thing Monday morning before diving into the work week.

● I use different forms of communication, mixing up emails with phone calls and personal letters.

● I send articles that pertain to the interests of a particular customer.

Most important, I try to help the customer become more successful by connecting them with opportunities and projects.

I do all this because I genuinely like our customers. We try to work with customers who are, first of all, decent individuals who stand for the same character issues in life that we stand for and who represent quality organizations.

To me, if you help others first, all other things being equal,  then something good will come back to you.

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Merrill Stewart is Founder and President of the Stewart Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham, Ala. Contact him via email
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