The Somewhat Limited Value of Client Lists
In the business-to-consumer world, a client list is made up of the people that business serves. It’s a list of actual people who have made a decision to buy from a business.
The business-to-business world is different. Our client lists are mostly made up of the names of companies we serve. We are proud of the company names on our list, so much so that we create PowerPoint slides and web pages to display their logos for all the world to see.
But the truth of the matter is, we don’t serve these companies. We serve a subset of the people who work for them. A client list of company names is the byproduct of the work we do with the people within that company.
The limited value of client lists is that it identifies an entity that is mostly made up of people who don’t know us, don’t care about us, and have no reason to be loyal to us.
If you want loyalty, you need a different list.
Where Loyalty Is Found
Loyalty is found where it is earned.
Loyalty is found in the list of individuals you serve within your client accounts. When you no longer have the loyalty of the individuals within a company, you no longer have the client—or that client is seriously at risk.
To earn that loyalty, you have to execute for your clients. You have to deliver the outcomes that you sold them when you acquired their business. If you don’t execute, the dissatisfaction that precedes churn sets in and weakens your loyalty.
Loyalty requires that you proactively take care of the individuals you do business with, as well as their teams. You have to bring them new ideas, new initiatives, and new value.
These are the things that prove your loyalty to the people you do business with within the list of client names you refer to as “our clients.” Those people are your real clients, and the list of their names is a better and more useful list than the big company names where they happen to work.
Your loyalty to the people you do business with is what earns you their loyalty.