Service Is Our Most Important Business

Submitted by Brad Lantz, Inner Circle Twin Cities


This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do if. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done!

This is a cute story that unfortunately is true for many organizations.

The core issue is not about a lack of performance of the marketing or sales plans. I have found that time after time the companies felt that they were providing much stronger service than what they actually were. The issues is relationship with the customer and meeting or exceeding their expectations, then letting them know about it.

In many cases the company presented their products and services STUFF and interviews with the customers found them to say, “I can get STUFF (products and services) from many different companies, I am there because of the relationship.”

So how can a company discover who they are from a customer”s perspective? Ask them. It is amazing also how few customers you need to ask to determine who you really are. I recommend that you ask the clients that you really like and feel you know, your “best” clients. What every company would like it replicate its “best” clients. The problem is that they do not treat “other” clients like their “best” clients, so they get different results.

There are many ways to determine your “best” clients: In the financial services business there seems to be a 20/60/20 breakdown of business.

THE 20-60-20 RULE

Type of clients %of Clients Total number Total hours Rev./Hr

Total worked weekly
















Your additional revenue goal for this year


Value of one top 20% clients


Value of one middle 60% clients


Value of one bottom 20% clients


When sales people look at clients like this they quickly decide they can transfer the bottom 20% and start providing better service for the middle 60% to bring them to a higher level client relationship.

One of the sales people did exactly that, he transferred most of his lower 20% to a new hire. The new hire, promptly started meeting with each of his new clients and in a year and a half was out producing the previous rep. (At least there was an override for the old rep.) This story represents what happens in many companies, we pay little attention to the smaller, less revenue generating accounts and their situation changes and we miss opportunities. So it is not always the largest clients. The best gauge is to say who do I really like working with? Who listens to your advice and feels confident enough to ask hard questions?

A very large company in the financial services arena stated that he felt there would be regulations coming that would force them to look more at the small and mid-level markets. So what clients are less litigious?

Now you are at the point of asking them some questions.