Editors Blog

Nurture the Seeds of Lasting Relationships

April 5, 2012

The cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., are beautiful, aren’t they?

If you’ve visited our nation’s capital in the spring, you know exactly what I’m referencing. In fact, you’re probably mentally whisking yourself away to the cloud of pink that surrounds the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park right now.

Blooming Customers

In 1912, Japanese leaders gifted the blooming botanicals to the U.S. to celebrate the two nations’ then budding friendship. Now, 100 years later, the trees are as healthy and vibrant as ever, splashing dynamic color and buoyancy throughout the district.

Think back to your first interaction with some of your customers. Didn’t that initial contact, discussion, and eventual agreement involve a large amount of give-and-take? It starts with a phone call, email, or office visit and after a brief discussion; you’re ready to offer a service that fits a specific need. A contract is presented, signed, and a relationship is formed.

In the end, your gift to them includes a functional heating/cooling comfort system. In return, their gift to you consists of a lasting relationship, a positive referral, networking potential, the first crack at any future HVACR installations and repairs, and — best of all — money in your pocket. It’s easy to see who benefits most from the exchange.

Imagine your customers as tiny cherry blossom seeds. Initially, those seeds may require a little extra attention — some travel to assess the work space, time to punch the numbers, etc… — just as a seedling needs more watering, added frost protection, fertilizer, direct sunshine, and more. If that sprouting seedling (customer relationship) is neglected, it’s sure to keel over. But, once that seed germinates and branches out, the possibilities for growth are endless. And just like the flowers on the cherry blossom trees, customers that have established trust with their contractor are likely to return on a regular basis with minimal effort.

Mending Wounded Branches

But while the Japanese cherry blossom gift is widely recognized as occurring 100 years ago in 1912, the original donation was given two years prior. A batch of 2,000 diseased trees arrived from Japan in 1910, infested with insects and nematodes. Legislators decided the trees had to be destroyed to protect local growers and President William Taft ordered the trees burned three weeks later.

Can you imagine if Japan had just abandoned its relationship with Washington, D.C., and the U.S. after President Taft scorched their gift? Wouldn’t our nation’s capital look a lot less appealing?

Similarly, there can be negative incidents beyond your control that happen as you attempt to build relationships with customers. But relationships can be mended as you try to rectify the situation.

Remember, HVAC customers often purchase service or products based solely on a trusting relationship they’ve developed with a contractor. Given every opportunity, make sure you’re doing your part to nurture this trust into rooted relationships for years to come.

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