It was a simple gesture from new Celtics coach, Brad Stevens, when he took the reigns of the NBA’s most decorated and historic franchise a few months ago.
Stevens wrote a letter to all Celtics alumni asking them to stay in contact with the franchise, as well as attend games in Boston, on the road, and come to visit the team during practices. For Stevens, developing and maintaining relationships is very important. And his letter was a first step in getting connected with all the past Celtics who made the franchise a success over its 17 NBA world championships.
Regardless of whether your company is facing growing competition in the marketplace, a new entrant seeking to gain ground or if you have a strong monopoly, relationships are always important.
To me, the letter from Stevens teaches a valuable lesson. Namely, make sure your customers know that you want to see them even when its not time to renew a deal or collect a payment. You may not hold a practice in a gym, but your company may conduct Webinars on industry trends or have company functions (formal and informal). If you do, be sure to invite your customers and prospects to these kinds of events, and give them a front row seat and no sales pitch. You also can show your appreciation by offering your customers the ability to use your facilities if they have people who are traveling in your area. Lastly, do not wait for the holidays to send hand-written notes to your clients. Print off an article that is of interest to their business, write a short note and put it in the mail. It will not take much longer than an e-mail, and in an age of digital communication – the personal touch will make simple courtesy stand out much more.
There are lots of other creative ways you can build and maintain relationships by staying connected. In the end, you may not hang a banner from the rafters of your building celebrating your success, but you certainly can and should build a tradition and reputation around appreciating the people whose support has made your company a success.
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Here is a part of the letter Stevens wrote:
I am truly humbled and honored to assume the responsibilities of head coach of the Boston Celtics. The Celtics’ mystique, history, culture and tradition speaks for itself. There is nothing else like it in all of professional sports.
At the press conference announcing my hiring, I was in awe looking up at the 17 championship banners. I am first and foremost a fan and admirer of the Boston Celtics and what has been accomplished by each of you.
On behalf of the Boston Celtics management, staff and players, I write you to come around any time. Please know that you are cordially welcome to attend our practice sessions, home games at the TD Garden, games when we are on the road and Celtics events in our community.
I look forward to meeting you in the near future. Continued success and well wishes.