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A Guy Walks Into a Bar…

I know, it sounds like a setup to a classic joke, or a hit single from country artist Tyler Farr but it really is how my story begins.

I walked into a bar last week with Bill, a longtime customer of Wind River Financial. Beautiful night, so we opted to belly up to the outdoor bar. He ordered a beer and me my standard, a vodka diet 7 (unfortunately I am allergic to beer!) We started talking about kids, sports, life, all the important stuff and then progressed into business. I was curious to hear how Bill’s industry was changing and what new challenges he and his team were facing.

Great conversation, but then Bill turned it back on me. “How is your business going? What are you toughest challenges?” he asked. I paused, pondered, took a drink of my 2nd (or maybe 3rd) vodka diet 7, and replied, “Things are really great. Our retention rate is 94% and the industry average is between 60-70%. So the customers we do have, really appreciate our great service and proactive approach.” He nodded, took a drink (now a Brandy Old Fashioned) and said, “I agree, that makes sense to me. Amy and her team are great and that is why we have been with you so long”.

I continued, “But our toughest challenge is starting conversations with potential new customers. Our industry has bombarded businesses with annoying telemarketers who try to commoditize our services by promising the lowest rates, and then lock ‘em in to multiyear contracts and creep up their rates over time. Many businesses tell me that they receive 5-10 of these phone calls a week.”

As I reach for the chicken nachos that were just delivered, Bill asks, “So what are you doing about it?” I began explaining our new WRF Customer Referral Program, and talked about how we want customers like our best customers and the best way we believe to do that is to get a warm introduction from a trusted source.

He agreed and as we quickly devoured the nachos, he thought long and hard about businesses referrals. He thought about his vendors, his customers and other business acquaintances. As I hastily grabbed the last jalapeno off the platter, he said to me, “You know Mike, most of my referrals would be personal referrals not business referrals.”

A guy walked into a bar hoping to find out more about a customer’s business and came out with 11 referrals, 1 business and 10 personal acquaintances. Maybe even more importantly, a guy realized that our referral program shouldn’t be solely focused on business contacts, but personal contacts as well.

Thanks Bill for being our customer and thank you for the referrals. We know that you are only going to refer an individual or business to someone that you trust. Thanks for trusting Wind River Financial!

If you have a business or personal referral that you think would appreciate the Wind River Service Promise, please let us know. Or if you want to meet a guy for an Old Fashioned, we are up for that too, but hurry the outdoor bars will be closed for the season soon.

Mike Blang

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