I recently read an excellent article by a gentleman that I’ve always admired and respected.  His name is Mark Vittert and he writes a column called Reflections in the “St. Louis Business Journal.”  I receive the “Journal” every week and the first thing I do is turn to his column on the third to last page.  He has been writing this column for at least twenty plus years and each week he shares an interesting article, a bit of trivia, a little fun – and many times a valuable lesson.

Such was the case this week when he wrote about Irv Roselman, an insurance sales person for Lincoln Life.  In short, Mark’s father bought a small policy from Irv almost 50 years ago.  Since that time he didn’t make another sale to the Vittert family.  Yet during all of this time, Irv stayed in touch, first with Mark’s father, then with Mark.  Every year Mark would receive a card on his birthday.  And sometimes Irv would write a nice note when he heard something nice worth passing on.

This is quite amazing. Even after almost 50 years of not selling to this customer, Irv stayed in touch.  Mark Vittert writes that Irv, at age 74 can look back on his worthy mission and enjoy the enormous positive impact he has had on thousands of people. 

While Mark’s article about Irv is inspirational, there is also a great business lesson here.  The first obvious lesson is one about keeping in touch with your customers.  Keeping in touch with customers through holiday and birthday cards doesn’t guarantee more business, but it works for a percentage of your customers.  Just staying in touch with prospects and customers helps to keep your name in front of the customer, and that can’t hurt.  That’s lesson one.

Here is lesson two.  Irv has had a successful professional life.  And, we should all take note of one of his simple, but powerful, strategy of keeping in touch.  You see, Irv remained loyal to his customers.  It didn’t matter if people bought another policy from him or not, he continued to send cards and notes.  So many times we look for our customers to be loyal to us.  We want them to buy again and again.  We try all kinds of fancy marketing, advertising and sales programs and hope that they will come back or continue to work with us.  Let’s sum this up in one sentence:


Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations.  As a professional speaker and author, Shep helps companies develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees.  For more information on Shep’s speaking programs and books, please contact (314) 692-2200. Email: shep@hyken.com  Web: www.hyken.com. For information on customer service training, go to www.TheCustomerFocus.com.

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