Far too many people fall prey to the many ills of modern society: smartphone addiction, the outrage culture, information overload, the list goes on…

One common mistake today is being lured by the new and ignoring the great.

If you’re in business and haven’t read Peter Drucker’s work, you should. Drucker is the grandfather of modern management approaches. Every time I think I’ve had an original idea, I read Drucker and discover he thought of it first. He’s not new; he’s just great.

Drucker states that the sole objective for any business is this: To find and keep customers.

Simple, right?

But how many times have you been so focused on finding new customers that you’ve taken your eyes off keeping your existing ones? Here are 9 ways to shift your focus:

1. Think fourth, first. 

My mentor taught me long ago that you should always think about the fourth sale first — meaning the key to success is repeat business. So comport yourself accordingly. Be professional. Be sincere. Be interested in your buyers, and be reasonable in your profit taking.

2. Adopt a new ‘good deal’ mentality. 

What’s a good deal? A good deal is when the customer feels well taken care of and you feel well compensated. If either side is out of balance, the relationship simply isn’t sustainable.

3. Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder; it makes people forget. 

This is another one of my mentor’s mantras. You have to stay in touch. It doesn’t matter if you call, text or email. Your marketing lists are a great way to do this; just make sure your newsletters don’t devolve into discount-offering junk mail.

4. High tech enables high touch. 

Use your CRM to foster customer relationships. If you’re in the retail business and don’t have pictures of your customers and notes about their family, their job and their other interests, you’re missing a huge opportunity for relationship building.

5. Consistency is key. 

Why do people still frequent Starbucks, McDonald’s and Subway? Because they know what they’re going to get. People’s lives are so chaotic, they gravitate towards brands they can rely on. A high turn rate of your employees is a death knell for your ability to provide a consistently high-quality experience for customers.

6. People leave people. 

I always mentally shake my head when someone says, “She left the company.” People don’t leave bricks and mortar. They don’t leave legal framework. They leave because their manager is a jerk. Think about it.

7. No one is perfect. 

If you’ve made a mistake, apologize, make it right and move on. Customers will remember that effort.

8. Always be thinking about one more thing. 

We had a cleaning person for years (a cleaning person, not a butler!) who would do a great job cleaning and then do one extra task. She folded the laundry or washed the windows. Heck, one time she even cleaned the fireplace! She helped us for 12 years. If she hadn’t moved to Arizona, we’d still be her customer. How can you apply that concept to what you do?

9. Be present. 

Have you ever talked to someone on the phone and you know they’re surfing the web? Have you ever been speaking with someone at an event, but they are constantly looking over your shoulder to see who else is in the room? If one of your precious customers has taken the time to call you, or even more importantly, come to see you, what should you do? Forget your phone. Forget what else is happening around you. Look that person in the eye and give him or her the gift of being present.  

Quality stands the test of time: The Rolling Stones, Peter Drucker, Harley-Davidson. Just like adjusting a camera’s zoom lens, occasionally you have to check your focus.

Your business raison d’être is simple: To find and keep customers.

Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash.