3 Easy Ways to Create Customer Loyalty

When someone registers for one of my online sales seminars, I send back a questionnaire to find out what his or her goals are.  A few months ago a seminar participant sent back an email with this statement:

“I am interested to know what differentiates the ‘phony salesperson’ from the genuine salesperson trying to find you the best options for the best cost. I would like to be perceived by my clients as sincere and driven towards a common goal.”

As soon as I read her statement, I immediately thought of someone who personified what this sales rep’s goal is all about.

Creating Trust versus Trying to SellCustomer-loyalty-cycle

Nearly everyone has had an experience with a sales person who was simply trying to just “sell.”  This type of person is thinking only about what s/he wants to accomplish and not what would be best for the customer.

Sometimes we are lucky enough to find an example of a genuine, caring sales person.I had this kind of luck.

During the years that I sold imaging supplies for an office equipment dealership in Virginia Beach – and bought all of our supplies – I learned some important lessons from one of the sales reps I purchased from.

What I first noticed was her positive attitude and cheerful personality. After introducing herself (her name was Rita) she said something very impressive.

First Impressions Count

I was new at the job, so what Rita said meant a lot to me.  Here it is:

“During my ten years in this industry,  I’ve come across a lot of different supply products and we have every cross-reference catalog in existence, so don’t hesitate to call me if you can’t find a particular item. 

“I’ll be happy to help you – even if we don’t sell the product you need.”

That was impressive.

It sounded as though she cared about helping me, not just selling.

She answered my mental what’s in it for me question during our first telephone conversation.

Rita seemed to be sincere, so I took her up on the offer and did call her.

Sure enough, she always found the answer for me – either immediately or later the same day.  I came to depend upon her knowledge and expertise, and I became a loyal customer. Whenever we needed to buy a product she sold, I made the usual calls to our regular supply sources, but made every effort to buy the products we needed from Rita whenever possible.

During nearly every phone call, she told me about one or two products her company sold – but that we had never ordered.  But she never tried to “sell” me anything.

How Rita Earned my Loyalty

Rita made herself unforgettable, and always reminded me of other products – so much so, that she was at the top of my list to call whenever we needed something new or different.  And because she was so consistently helpful, I trusted her and felt a sense of loyalty that resulted in sales for Rita for many, many years.

Three Easy Ways to Create Customer Loyalty
Source:  Geoffrey James, writing in Inc.com

1. Relationships are critical. Customers immediately sense if you’re using them (and the relationship) to work your own agenda. Put the relationship first and treat it as more important than making the sale.  Your customers will sense you’ve got their best interests at heart.

2. Have real conversations. A customer meeting should be a conversation and never a “sales call.”  Always spend more time listening to the customer rather than talking to the customer.  (And never, ever talk at a customer.  No sales pitches!)

3. Be willing to recommend competitors. When you’re open to the idea that the customer might be better served elsewhere, your customer will begin thinking of you as a trusted adviser and consultant rather than a salesperson trying to make your numbers.

How do you create customer loyalty?  I would love to know what works for you. Tweet @annbarrblog