The New Biz Chase is Fun but Don’t Ignore Loyal Clients

Over the past two weeks, baseball has dominated the sports pages with the free agent signings of pitcher Cliff Lee by the Philadelphia Phillies, outfielder Jayson Werth by the Washington Nationals, outfielder Carl Crawford by the Boston Red Sox and the Yankees resigning of Derek Jeter and Marian Rivera. These signings and the public negotiations gave me pause to think how baseball’s free agent market is in a sense, similar to the chase for landing a new client. All efforts go to bringing in the new prize and often, the loyal steadfast client can get lost in the shuffle.

Lee’s decision to return to Philadelphia and play for the Phillies was described by the former Cy Young Winner as a place where he felt most comfortable and wanted to return. He had helped lead the Phillies to the 2009 World Series following a mid-season trade from the Cleveland Indians. A number of New York Yankees fans speculated, including yours truly, that one of the reasons the deep-pocketed Bronx Bombers wasn’t his ultimate choice was the public way the Yankees dealt with their negotiations with Derek Jeter as a free agent. Jeter addressed this at the press conference announcing his resigning by stating how the public negotiations had taken on an unnecessary negative tone. Was the public knocking of a player that had led a team to five world championships in 16 years a necessary step in holding down the negotiating lever? Jeter eventually signed for a salary that the Yankees were comfortable with, so in a sense they got their way, although Jeter had no leverage since he did not want to play elsewhere.

Will Jeter have the same feeling toward the only professional franchise he’s ever known? That remains to be seen, but you have to figure the public bashing of his skills had to affect him.

Now, how about the clients that you have served so willingly over the years that suddenly get put on hold because of your own pursuit of the new free agent client star? The chase for new business is exciting, but pleasing the rest of the client roster is essential as well, otherwise you’re left with one new player and a disgruntled clubhouse of clients that soon will begin their own free agent agency chase.

So while honing in on your next new business target, make sure you and your staff are taking care of the existing client base. Their loyalty will most depend on the loyalty you exhibit towards them.

Tom Cosentino


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