As I tromp all over North America talking to CEOs and Owners of privately-held companies and extolling the virtues of the philosophy of Evergreen, I still find a lack focus on effective sales and marketing approaches.

The majority spend close to 90 percent of all of their efforts focused on gaining new customers.

As you know, one of the core principles of the Evergreen philosophy is built around taking care of your existing clients, and building long term relationships with them.

If you increase the amount of money a customer spends with you and increase the number of times they do business with you, then you’ll grow exponentially faster than you ever would by adding new customers.

I’ve talked before about why the typical “wisdom” here is ridiculous. You know, that dusty old chestnut that it’s “5X more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.

I won’t rehash all the reasons why this is the worst business advice in the world, (where does that spend go? How often do you need to spend it? When, and on whom? etc .etc.), but I will give you some practical advice on how to actually make your existing clients a top priority.

While working with an old client of mine we put into place what became known at the “90-45” rule.

The rule was simple. It said that NO client who had ever spent a dime with the company was allowed to go more than 90 days without at least a 15 minute phone call, but preferably a 30 minute in-person meeting with their sales rep.

Further to that, we took the top 10% of customers for each sales rep and adjusted the rule so that no customer could go 45 days without the same follow-up.

Today’s Key Questions:

1. Can you name your top 10% of customers?

2. When was the last time they had a call or in-person meeting with one of your reps?

(For B2C readers, when was the last time you communicated with your customers with valuable, educational, informative content?)

3. How many of your current clients have gone longer than 90 days without an in-person contact?

You’ve got the baseline now.