“What am I, chopped liver?” Most of us know the phrase, or we think we have a relatively good idea of what it means. It’s what you ask (usually to yourself) when you’re passed over. You’re clearly the best resource, but you weren’t even asked.
But what does chopped liver have to do with this? Etymology, the study of the historical meaning of words and phrases, can give us a hand here. We’ll start with some history.
According to food writer Tori Avery, the history of chopped liver goes back to Medieval Germany, where Ashkenazi Jews bred and raised geese as the poultry of choice. The first Jewish chopped liver recipes were actually made from goose liver. Eventually Eastern European Jews began using chicken and beef livers; these recipes came across the ocean with immigrants to Ellis Island in the late 1800′s. You can read her full post here.
Prepared well, chopped liver is an excellent dish. So asking, ‘What am I, chopped liver?’ doesn’t necessarily mean you’re posing the question about quality. Digging just a bit deeper into the subject of chopped liver, we also find that it’s always served as a side dish, never as a main dish. Most etymologists agree that, “What am I, chopped liver?” is a metaphor for someone who’s unrecognized for their true value. So, it’s got something in common with another phrase: Always a bridesmaid, never the bride.
Staying Front and Center
When we experience that “chopped liver” moment with a client, we have to ask why. In a perfect world, we get the answer from them. But we can also do a bit of internal searching. Both approaches may likely turn up with the same result.
This client or customer didn’t consider us because it wasn’t just a duplicate of what they purchased previously. It was considerably more, or bigger. Maybe it was just a fractional percentage, instead.
In any case, the capabilities required didn’t match those which made you the best resource in the past. To mix a few metaphors and stay in alignment with our chopped liver subject, your client probably still thinks you’re absolutely delicious – but for some reason, it just didn’t occur to them that you are the best choice for a main dish.
We assume that our clients or customers know everything we can do for them. Often, though, their understanding of our capability is based on past transactions. It’s why education is a key part of customer retention. Forrester Research has long reported that it costs 500 percent more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one. But, did you know it can cost up to 16 times more to nurture a new customer to the same level of revenue contribution of your existing, loyal customers?
“Chopped liver” moments are just as costly to the bottom line as they are to an organization’s overall self-esteem. The good news is that you can reduce these moments by remaining top of mind with clients and customers. Share your upgrades and improvements with them. Ask them about future projects. You know what you do best. They don’t. And what they assume you can’t do because it’s not what you’ve done for them in the past…well, it can make for another serving of chopped liver.
We’ve experienced this first-hand. During more than 40 years of business, we’ve worked with clients who’ve asked us to do something highly specific. It’s a feather in our cap to pull it off for them, but usually that particular job isn’t the only way we should be remembered. It’s why we reach out to you on a regular basis to remind you of our capacity. We may have done a small order with you previously. Our state-of-the-art facilities allow us to fulfill extremely large orders.
What’s next for you? We can help, even if it’s nothing like what we’ve done together in the past. Keep this in mind when you think of us – and apply it yourself when you’re working with your existing customers or clients.