Trade Show TalesBlog

Word on the Street — July 6th thru July 10th

July 10th, 2009 COMMENTS
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Client Retention vs. Client Protection

I hope and trust you all had an enjoyable holiday weekend with your family and friends! I know I did. I’m not sure I have ever packed so much into a 3-day weekend. I suppose that comes with having two young children. By Monday, I was exhausted!

This week I would like to reflect on something I’m hearing a lot about these days — Client Protection.

At what point does “Client Retention” become “Client Protection“? And at what point does it appear desperate?

We all understand and have implemented Client Retention programs. They are smart, necessary, and reflect good customer service. But this new term or buzz word, Client Protection, seems different. 

For the past year, many AE’s or company representatives are travelling to trade shows, not to look for new clients, but to accompany their existing clients to their shows.  

Obviously, the downsized market is striking fear in people, a fear that clients will be tempted away by others. There is a sense that they need to be there to fend off potential suitors. Sort of reminds me of the movie Jerry Maguire. Near the end, when Rod (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is standing at the end of the tunnel waiting to run out on the field, Bob Sugar (Jay Mohr) approaches him and tries to talk to him about becoming his agent. Just then, Jerry (Tom Cruise) comes running up and tells Sugar to get lost and to “stay away from my guy.”

Has it really come to that with clients on the show floor? God I hope not! But I have to say that is what I’ve heard is happening at some shows. 

Have you ever been around that married couple where one of the spouses “always” has to accompany the other wherever they go? Whether it’s traveling for business or to the grocery store? Leaves you thinking, “What’s up with that?” What is that person so fearful of? And why?”

I’m sure this may sound a bit naive, but won’t solid relationship skills, a good understanding of your client’s needs, and caring for those needs protect you from having your clients “stolen?” Can’t good Client Retention practices achieve the same goal?

Again, feel free to shoot holes in this as being Pollyanna. But it seems like a dangerous knee-jerk reaction to the current economic conditions In the end, when we have finally recovered from this awful economy, will we have set a difficult precedent? Not to mention the appearance of desperation.

I look forward to your comments as always.

Have a great weekend.

Be Well!

–Kevin Carty

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