Are you BFFs with your clients?

Posted on July 27, 2011 by - Also by this author

Apparently, some of my older female clients consider me a BFF. One of them likes to make unique business proposals.
The term BFF conjures up images of the ultimate friendship: Best Friends FOREVER!  Today, instead of the usual rant and raves about business, I wanted to share an “indecent proposal” with you. If you missed the movie with Robert Redford and Demi Moore, Redford offers Demi Moore, a married woman, $1 million in exchange for sex. 

I seem to have a knack for attracting rich, old women. I don’t mean to do it. In reality, these women I attract are clients that have been left with small fortunes or in some cases, large fortunes. I am not out “gold digging.” I am sitting in my office taking care of clients. These older ladies tend to need more time and I try to give it to them with personal attention to their needs. When I say needs, I mean their transportation needs.  As a happily married man, I have no desire to help them with any other needs.
At least once a week, I get a call from some elderly female client that might be placing an order or might be calling just to talk. I really don’t have time to just sit and talk but these are the same clients that are taking big trips out of town on a regular basis. So, even if they don’t have an order today, they might have one tomorrow, so I spend the time to listen to their stories about gardening, health ailments, family members that have died, and the list of things to talk about can vary quite a bit.
I really do try to make every regular client feel that they are the single, most important client I serve. I want them to believe that they are my most special client and that I truly enjoy hearing from them. Some of them even drop by to see me because they believe that I miss them and want to see them. Maybe I might be doing my job too well.

One client in particular calls me regularly and asks me to meet her for cocktails. She wants to take me to dinner. She asked me if I would consider riding with her on her birthday in a limousine to go bar hopping for the day. I told her I didn’t know if I could get away for the day. She told me since it was her birthday that she wanted to ride in the limo in her “birthday suit.” She thought that might motivate me. It had quite the opposite effect as I thought that an 83-year old woman is definitely out of my league at my age.

This week, she asked me if I could leave the office and come pick her up at her favorite bar and take her home. It was the way she said “take me home” that made me pass on the offer. I did promise her I would go on a “date” with her in the very near future. The way I see it, she is not a corporate account but booking just as many orders and spending just as much, so why would I not take her to lunch or dinner? I did, however, feel the need to share with my wife that this lady wanted to go on a date with me and had made indecent proposals to me. My wife wanted to know how much money was involved to make sure it was sufficient to purchase several Coach purses! Forget about Coach purses — I do have my moral standards, you know.

-- Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor

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