Earlier this month I watched the odometer on my Ford Explorer turn over to 200,000 miles. I have had it for ten years, and I hate to admit, it has been in the body shop more than once. I am on my second transmission, but it runs well with no major squeaks or rattles, and it looks good on the outside and the inside. I have every intention of driving it for another year or two. I also know many automobile owners who need to get new cars at 100,000 miles because their vehicles are falling apart.
So what makes the difference? Maintenance. I take my car in for an oil change and a check-up every 5,000 miles. I wash it regularly. I wax it twice a year. I don’t throw food wrappers in the back seat. I make sure my vehicle is working properly. But I am not unusual, most people probably maintain their vehicles equally well. Then why not apply “maintenance” to the rest of your business and personal lives?
At a recent monthly Vistage meeting, my good friend and Vistage member, Jonny Borok, made a very good point to our group. He said “You would not think of failing to take your car in for maintenance, so why do so many of us fail to maintain the important relationships in our lives?
Imagine what would happen if you called on your customers every 5 weeks or 5,000 dollars. Our Vistage Group once talked about generating additional revenue and we concluded that we all needed to maintain positive relationships with current customers as much as with future prospects. Even if customers don’t have a specific problem at the moment, they like to know you care and that you are listening to them. Oftentimes you generate more revenue by offering additional products and services just because the lines of communication are open. Reach out. Make the effort.
Let’s face it. We often take our employees for granted, and frankly they take their employers for granted. The basic contract of “if you work, I will pay you” is really not enough. That is merely putting gas in the tank for a short period of time. There needs to be additional periodic maintenance. There are many options. There could be promotion opportunities, training sessions, company celebrations, and like customers, listening to them and developing deeper relationships. Reach out. Make the effort
Marriages, Family & Friends
So if we maintain important things like cars, customer relationships and employees, it only makes sense that we pay more attention to maintaining our most important relationships – maintain healthy marriages, and paying attention to our family and friends.
Maintaining these relationships is really the most important work we can do. Sometimes it is hard. And while I like my metaphor of “maintenance” – maintaining relationships with loved ones is not as simple as changing the oil.
So my advice is simple: Pay attention to your relationships. Listen…be creative…be sincere…and take the time to put in the extra effort. That will make a big difference in your lives.