Six strategies that lead to platinum client relationships

Oct. 19, 2022
While not every customer qualifies to be a platinum client, these people will take your business to another level.

As an operator, I was fortunate enough to have a handful of clients that I used to refer to as my “platinum clients.” They were so loyal to our operation that when they relocated to a new company, they always brought us along for the ride. I was equally fortunate to have team members, many of whom are industry stars today, who did everything they could to support those relationships and build their own list of platinum clients. Fortunate indeed.

Not every client can reach platinum status. For one thing, a platinum client requires a tremendous amount of effort on the part of your business development team. A platinum client needs to be part of a strong company that you truly want to serve, willing to spend money on office refreshment, interested in a great employee experience, dedicated to facility management and sophisticated enough to appreciate an elevated business relationship.

Every operator can cultivate their own platinum relationships if they are willing to employ six key strategies during the life span of an account, which evolves over three stages.

Those six strategies are:

  1. Strong secondary relationships
  2. Solutions
  3. Differentiation
  4. Accessibility
  5. Reliability
  6. Rewards

Stage #1 – New client

A new client relationship begins because of these basic strategies that convert the client from a prospect to a paying customer. Here are how the six strategies come into play:

Strong secondary relationships – The appointment might have happened because of someone you knew at the location or maybe, from a strong referral – bringing you instant credibility.

Solutions – Being solution oriented, first and foremost, meeting the client’s needs.

Differentiation – What your company offers that separates you from your competition. The initial reason why you deserve the business.

Accessibility – Being completely available to answer questions and follow up on the sale.

Reliability – Keeping your commitments through the sales cycle. Establishing your company’s credibility because of a strong track record and excellent references.

Rewards – Entertain the prospect. Be so likable, empathetic and attentive, that making a deal with you is irresistible. Value the client and make your appreciation clear to them. 

Stage #2 – Existing client 

An existing client relationship happens after a smooth installation occurs. The operator and the client get in sync. Here are how the six strategies come into play:

Strong secondary relationships – Pay attention to the DM’s support staff, especially the second in command, who can become your new contact overnight.

Solutions – Have the needs of the client changed? Are you still meeting those needs? A solution-oriented approach must be ongoing. Complacency is not an option.

Differentiation – Does your differentiator still separate you from the competition? If not, focus on something new that will dazzle the client. A new water system? A new bean to cup? A new must-have coffee?

Accessibility – Be more than accessible, be proactive about customer service. Visit the location and evaluate your company’s performance.

Reliability – If there's a problem, fix it. When your company makes a mistake, take immediate steps, without excuses, to solve the problem.

Rewards – Entertain. Be generous. Make the relationship a pleasure for the client.

Stage #3 – Platinum client

A platinum client trusts you completely because you never stop earning their business. Here are how the six strategies come into play:

Strong secondary relationships – It really helps when the second in command knows how much you appreciate them. Remember, that is your future contact, at this company or another. Throw them a bone occasionally (tickets, lunch), and your generosity will pay off handsomely.

Solutions – Be willing to revamp the program and spend some money if that is what it takes to truly meet your client’s changing needs.

Differentiation – As a company, you must stay on top of the technology and the equipment that your platinum client needs. You want to be the one who introduces a hot new concept to them, not your competition. When you see something exceptional that they should have, text them from wherever you are, such as the NAMA convention floor.

Accessibility – Never be complacent. Make sure that your client services team is paying attention to this key client and make sure that, as the boss, you do too. It means a lot to the client to see you for no reason but a visit.

Reliability – Total trust. The client knows that you have everything covered. They can count on you and your team.

Rewards – At this stage, you may have certain “entertainment rituals” that the client is accustomed to. That favorite sushi restaurant every quarter, baseball opening day, dinner and an NBA game or a nice couples evening. At this point, it’s way beyond just another business relationship.

While not every customer qualifies to be a platinum client, these people will take your business to another level. Additionally, serving platinum clients is a true pleasure for the operator, account executive or client services specialist who is responsible for managing the account. This type of elevated business relationship will result in plenty of referrals, tremendous revenue and perhaps one thing that I never expected, cherished friendships that still exist, long after we sold our company.


Bob Tullio is a content specialist, speaker, sales trainer and business columnist who advises entrepreneurs on how to build a successful business from the ground up. He also specializes in helping suppliers connect with operators in the convenience services industry - coffee service, vending, micro markets and pantry service specifically. Tullio’s b2b Perspective Channel has developed a loyal YouTube following.

Tullio delivers this promise to any company that hires him for a 30-minute or 1-hour Zoom call: "One short session with me will elevate the performance of your sales team.”

Tullio can be reached at [email protected] or 818-261-1758.


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