To retain current customers, you need to keep in touch with them. Let these relationships lapse, and you risk losing the golden goose — that loyal and dependable source of business and referrals that has been the key to longtime success.

The good news? There are more ways than ever to stay close to your customers. Here are some ideas:

» Acknowledge customers by sending thank-you notes and special occasion cards (birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc.).

» Send informational fliers and include a discount coupon or gift certificate.

» Celebrate your business anniversary with an open house for customers.

» Mail a monthly or quarterly newsletter, chock full of practical information and useful tips. Include contact information, but avoid the heavy sell. Position yourself as the go-to solution source.

» Invite them to a networking event or trade conference that you regularly attend.

» Make each contact lead to the next. Before concluding a meeting or telephone conversation, schedule the date of your next contact.

However you choose to communicate, be authentic, patient, responsive and consistent. When you treat your customers with respect and give them more than they expect, the relationships will continue to glow like gold.

— Craig Greene is a senior loan officer at Prospect Mortgage, 3916 State St., Suite 100, Santa Barbara 93105. He can be reached at or 805.898.4211.