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Cultivating Customers

Question: Ryan wants to know how to serve his customers well. He isn’t sure if he should be hunting for other customers or trying to grow the ones he has. Dave says the answer is both.

Answer: You need to do both. We need to have lots and lots of new customers and additional customers so that while they become bigger, they become less and less important in terms of if they went away financially, you’d be in panic mode. You don’t ever want to have a customer where the tail is wagging the dog, where they’re so big a percentage of your world, to lose them would devastate you. What that does is it puts you past serving and goes to fear. I don’t want to be serving someone out of fear. I don’t want to be in that position.

Certainly, when someone is an important percentage of your world, they’re an important percentage of your world. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’ll give you an example in our case. Churchill Mortgage is an advertiser that has been with us almost 20 years. Mike Hardwick, who owns that, is a personal friend. They are a huge customer of our organization and of this radio show. Jeff Zander at Zander Insurance is the same thing. They’re two people who are personal friends and have been with us a very long time. In the old days, the ad revenue that just those two companies represented was a big deal. Now we collect a lot more ad revenue from them than we did in the old days, meaning we have helped them grow their businesses—double, triple, quadruple—over the years, but meanwhile, our business has gotten bigger faster, so even though they are four times or five times the revenue they were X years ago—in other words, still a large and very important customer and we’ve been able to help them grow—in the meantime, we’ve grown in other areas, and they have become an even smaller percentage of our world.

What that means is the answer is both. Yes, I want those guys to grow and to do very well, and I want to do very well on the other side so that I’m not as dependent on them as we go along.

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