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Use the 3 Rules in Loyalty Sales Calling, Drive the Greatest Revenue Results

By Don Farrell

Loyalty, vs. any other adjective or adverb you can come up with, is the best way to approach selling your potential clients for immediate and long-term results. Lets look at a couple of examples from familiar situations, starting with selling gas at a gas station. 

Lets say you own a gas station and you know that the net profit margin is very slim, so you cant afford to lower prices or offer freebies as an incentive to picking up and retaining new customers. So how can you create a more loyal customer? 

Most gas station customers are probably looking at price and location as the two most important features. If your price is comparable to the next guys and you are on their way to and from work, people will more than likely call your gas station theirs. However, this is not much of a loyalty-driving proposition. 

What if the lighting at your gas station is weak, the window cleaning solution either dirty or dried up, the pumps dirty or the receipt never prints the way it should? Those are more than enough reasons to chase customers to the next station. What if instead, you, as the owner or manager, not only had these operational fundamentals in place, but also made a habit of walking the pump area, picking up trash and talking to your customers? Think what could happen if you said, for example, Hi, my name is Don and I operate this station. If you need anything, I will be out here or just inside. Thanks for using us for your gas needs.  When was the last time you received this kind of attention at a gas station? Customers would probably be blown away they wouldnt expect it.

The first step in driving loyalty is to exceed expectations.

In the second example, lets say you are a woman in her 20s who is planning her wedding, something youve been dreaming about for years. As anyone would, you want this day to be perfect, one of the very best of your entire life. You have a lot of details to worry about, and whether those details go wrong or right determine how the day turns out.

You start with the reception facility. How many places will you call to make an appointment to meet with the catering staff? How many places will you consider before one wins your trust and your business?  Three? Four? Five? Regardless of the number, you will more than likely have a conversation with an experienced wedding planner who focuses on three things: rates, dates and space. Those three things tell the catering veteran whether she or he even wants your business. A catering professional fields many calls in a day that ask the same kinds of questions, so he or she may have learned to streamline the process to save time. This may save time, but it also often loses the business. Thats because emotional connection has been sacrificed for the sake of efficiency. When a customer-centric approach is missing, so is loyalty. If the customers dont matter to you, why should you matter to them?

The second step in driving loyalty us to make an emotional connection with your potential and existing clients.

Why should you be concerned with loyalty?  If you go into your wallet you will see that you have a fair amount of loyalty program cards, probably including some from business or brands that compete with each other. Consumers are looking for a total experience, not just to make a purchase. They want personal perks, pleasant surprises and value-adds. How more loyalty would you be driving if, in addition to having the fundamentals in place, your clients got superior service and personal attention?

Exceeding expectations and making an emotional connection drive loyalty by showing that you care about the customers experience.

As a business owner and operator you already know that it is expensive to find new customers and even more expensive to fix things those things with which they are dissatisfied. But you mission should not just be to attain customers satisfaction, it should be to go beyond satisfaction and straight to a commitment of loyalty the very second the experience begins.

Lets go back to the catering director who fielded the wedding reception request. To go straight to a commitment of loyalty, he or she would instead of focusing on the catering halls selfish rates, dates and space needs make you feel special by beginning the conversation on a personal, attentive note. Let me just say congratulations to you on two levels. First for your upcoming wedding and second for coming to us for your reception needs. My staff and I are absolutely committed in every way possible to making your wedding day one of the very best days of your life.

The third step in driving loyalty is putting customer needs before your own.  

Caring more, doing more and communicating better than any of your competitors is what drives loyalty to a business. Making the emotional connection and keeping the customer/client focus ahead of your own also solidifies and earns that loyalty. 

Delivering the basics creates satisfaction, but does not drive loyalty. Satisfaction is the minimum customers expect. Loyalty comes when they receive above and beyond that personal attention, superior service and outstanding communications. Delivering more than customers expect is the name of the game day in and day out. You cant wow them just once; each and every time you touch them and they touch you, loyalty needs to be driven home. And when you drive loyalty, you drive sales.

Don Farrell is an author and speaker who conducts training workshops and consults select clients on how to create a unique sales and service culture. His clients thrive in recessions or good times alike because they have adopted his philosophy of liberating from the competition. More information is available on his website, www.freshrevenues.com.


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