Stay Close (Issue 420)

In which we're reminded about the importance of swimming in the water with our clients. One of my children's greatest fears is that their mother will become the school nurse in their next school, peering into lice, ears, noses, and throats of friend and foe alike. Ugh!

This has become a family joke.

When they were in elementary school, she was a part time school nurse in their school. Middle school, same thing. High school, there she was. And is.  My son, now at college about 20 miles from our home, turns pale and threatens to transfer to a school in Slovenia every time she hints that she’s going to call the college health service to look for work.

I don’t think she wants to do that, and how entertaining to watch the color drain from his face.

Crazy, huh? A huge investment of time for little money. Facing her children’s charges of “microbe-management?” Yeah, crazy like a fox.

Through her work with the school staff and faculty, she has an ear finely-tuned to the school ground. She knows more about kids, parents, and teachers than almost any other mom in town. She knows the inside scoop early because she is close to the action, building strong relationships with everyone from the custodians to the principals. It’s just amazing what one can learn from folks who clean classrooms and halls, for example. She stays close to the kids.

For us, sales people, the metaphor is “stay close to the market,” particularly in troubled times. As we wrote in our article, “Selling in Tough Times,”

“…increase calling frequency for companies or individuals whose financial relationships you are managing or seeking and extend your community intelligence networks…

When you’re out in the market, you hear things. You are able to follow companies’ changing fortunes in small increments. You know early whether a company is troubled or overstretched. You hear what’s happening with external factors such as condo sales, the planning board or water availability. You can anticipate their impact on a company and on your bank’s position with that company. As a result, you’re able to share perspective and information gleaned from your various conversations, thus enabling your customers to take action early. You can intervene earlier on the bank’s behalf to identify the facts and take action if there’s serious trouble brewing.

Yep, it’s amazing what you can learn from the people who clean buildings and streets, never mind what you can learn from customers, prospects, and referral sources. Stay close.

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