Wednesday, April 8, 2009

You Are Unique - Just Like Everyone Else

Written by our guest author - Sean Buck

Now, I refer to stories of my kids a lot, because well, I have a lot of them. Like any parent, there are times that I feel that my kids have taught me more than I have taught them. Here is one of those instances. I was on the phone with a service bureau the other day and something that had just happened with one of my younger kids came to mind.

Ok, if you faint at the sight of blood you may want to turn away…..but, it’s really not that bad

So, one of my kids comes running in the house yelling that another is “bleeding like crazy”. I run out and sure enough my 5 year old son has blood all over his face and hands. He is crying and getting a little freaked out at the sight of his own blood. So I did what any dad would do, I freaked out too. No just kidding, I quickly got him in the bathroom and started to wipe away the blood and we found a tiny little cut above his eye. I started to chuckle a little and he looked at it and started to laugh too. Soon the other kids were in the bathroom laughing as well at how small the cut was. In about 2 minutes he was back out climbing trees and playing lava monster with the other kids. It is easy to lose sight sometimes (not all the time) of how small an issue may turn out to be if you wipe away the blood and tears. Who knows you may even end up laughing about it in the end!

If you turned away, now it’s time to look back

Back to the service bureau that called….

Jim (not his real name, but really close to it) calls me and says, “We are losing clients all over the place, this is killing us”. He vents about a call he had just taken a few minutes earlier about a client of his that called to cancel payroll services since they have been “hit hard by this economy”. I then explained to Jim exactly what he needed to do next. Call his client back and offer support. Sometimes we all just need to be reminded of what got us to where we are now. You see, you may offer good payroll processing; you may be your client’s favorite vendor. BRACE YOURSELF. There are lots of really good payroll processors out there!


Jim called the customer back, and sat on the phone for about 45 minutes with him. During the call Jim listened to the problems they were having and shared his own “real life” situations with him. Jim shared his heart with the owner on the other end of the phone who was really struggling with what was happening. Now something happened on that call, the client realized that he could afford to keep using Jim for his payroll. But he also realized with the help of Jim that there were other ways to cut costs and keep things moving in a positive direction. You know Jim didn’t know anything about manufacturing but he did know a thing or two about running a business. Now Jim keeping the payroll business isn’t the moral of the story here. What is the moral? Thanks for asking!
Your clients are trusting in you to provide a fair professional service in exchange for their money. You may even be considered by them to be “damn good” at what you do. Well guess what?!? like I said earlier, there are a lot of really good payroll processors out there. You need to separate yourself from the other really good processors. Really it’s the small things that make the difference; here is a list of 3 simple things for you to try with your clients:

Spend at least 60 minutes out of every week, calling your clients. I know you’re the owner and don’t usually call. Well get over it and call them, they will love to hear from you. You may even have something to offer their business. By the way, don’t call the same ones over and over just because you like them.

Twice a month take a client out to lunch. Come on, you’re going to be eating anyways and you can expense it.

If you have a sales team and are not working on new clients yourself, call and introduce yourself to the new client and let them know you’re available and interested. Spend at least 15 minutes on the phone with them, remember step 1, you may have something to offer.

These may seem simple and obvious, but get real with yourself, when is the last time you did something like that? You know, Jim may very well have lost the client. That is a reality in our current economy, but doesn’t have to cripple your business. When you start showing a proactive interest in your clients business you will become more than just a good payroll service. You will become the guy that they discuss when they are out to lunch with other business owners that you’re not doing payroll for.

If you would like to contact Sean Buck directly, he can be reached directly at (219) 567-0244, or via e-mail at:

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