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Customer Lifetime Value from a very different perspective.

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It’s funny … but sometimes the greatest insights in business come from the most unexpected places.

My father was a first generation Italian American whose parents came to this country in the early 1920’s with “niente in tasca”, nothing in their pockets, so to speak. Yet the stories my father would tell about his childhood — even during the Depression — were always filled with warmth, happiness, humor and unparalleled ingenuity and common sense, no matter how challenging the adversity.

He was a man filled with grace and humility. And he never would have thought of himself as an entrepreneur. But he was. Like his parents, he started with nothing in his pockets. Although, what he did have was a deep love of working with his hands. He was a carpenter by trade. Always self-employed. And as his business grew over the years from carpentry only to full-scale building, he never lost his focus. He was always centered on the quality of his work and the value he gave to his clients.

Lifetime Value my father’s way.

Recently my father passed. And I have been struck by the number of people who have come forward and said: “You don’t know me, but your father built my house and it has been the happiest place on earth for me.” Or, “the quality of our house is amazing, I have not had to repair anything in 40 years.” Or, “… it is where all the greatest memories of my life were made.” Or, “… my seven brothers and sisters and I loved every inch of it, especially the playroom, which was the epicenter of our lives.”

Or any myriad of other heartfelt comments that told me my father viewed Customer Lifetime Value not as the net profit he would gain over the entire relationship with each of his customers, but as the value that he could give to each of his customers over their lifetime. It was the essence of who my father was, a man who lived to add value to the lives of others and he executed it every day.

It is certainly a very different perspective on the concept of Customer Lifetime Value. And one we happily live by — just as my father did.