I have a good client. No, she’s a great client because she tells everyone she can what an impact my product has had for her company. She is a one-woman marketing effort for me in places I cannot get to – namely, the financial deciders. Besides that, whenever we meet (online or onsite), I learn a LOT and we accomplish even more.
So, a new threat showed up – change in leadership. Her perception was that our business relationship was threatened by a new bean counter, making all kinds of heinous cuts throughout the organization. Being that she has built so many programs around my product, she may have even more stake in our continuing than I do. She asked me for help in making a sound financial case for continuing.
We went back and forth exchanging questions and answers, data, graphs and reports. At times, I realized what a Law Clerk must feel like, researching and writing for their Judge. Then, she asked me for something a bit out of the ordinary.
It was nothing illegal, unethical nor immoral, but just something we generally don’t do. She felt that piece of information would be the closer for her. With that, and all the other information I’ve given her, she felt she had an open and shut case and could get her boss to sign off on our new agreement when they meet next.
So, I slept on it and the next day sent her the information in exactly the format she requested. There was (is) the possibility of a handslap, but I never disciplined anyone on my team for taking care of their clients; for going above and beyond to meet a client’s need or solve their problem. Sure, I might have said “next time, just don’t let me be the last to know,” but keeping a client, especially a client who has been to bat for you, is mission-critical.
She was so very grateful and I’m sure she will close the deal on her end. And, if I wind up in company jail, will probably bake me a cake with a file inside. Demonstrating loyalty to your customers comes back to you many times over which makes it hard to do wrong when you’re doing right by a customer.
What do you think? Stay between the lines and risk losing the client, or take personal risk to retain the client?