As loyal as a dog. A Formula for longterm success.
The answer is customer loyalty.
The question is how loyal are your customers?
A loyal customer is the true measure your success. The question: “Why will they buy from you more than once?” Provides an answer that leads to stability, growth and profit. Powerful question. Complex answer.
I ate lunch last week with George Doggett, founder and CEO of Doggett Advertising. I had always been intrigued by his logo a greyhound (dog of course).
Since ad agencies tout their ability to image you, brand you, and attract new customers, I always look at how they practice what they preach, and the Doggett logo was attractive, symbolic, sleek, simple, and had the nuance of his name in it. Cool.
In our previous brief afterhoursbusinessencounters I had asked him about his business (the networking thing to do), and he always mentioned how he establishes longterm relationships with his clients. Loyalty.
I’m not crazy about statistics, but chew on these:
- The (advertising agency) industry average for keeping an account is 3.5 years. Source: Second Wind Network (advertising industry trade association)
- Based on their current account list, Doggett retained their clients for an average of 10.4 years.
“The Greyhound has taught me a lot of business principles, and we strive to apply those ideals in our daily interactions with our clients.” smiles Doggett. “The Greyhound, which is the symbol for quick, intelligent, friendly and motivated to win are the same qualities prized in every Doggett employee.”
I asked George for his “loyalty formula.” I wanted to share it with you, and ask that you compare it to the strategies and principles you employ to keep your customers loyal. Is it THE formula? No, it’s A formula. But 10.4 years per customer is worth looking at.
GEORGE DOGGETT’S TEN GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF CLIENT RETENTION (OR, HOW TO STAY TOP DOG):
- Surround Yourself With The Same Breed. Any company functions best when employees share the same vision and enjoy working together. The result is business with a distinct personality and a welldefined corporate culture. The result is clients receive consistent treatment from everyone.
- Don’t Chase Everything You See. Although the Greyhound has a powerful chase instinct, it will not waste its time running after everything that crosses its path. Face it: You should do business with people you like. This compatibility keeps the relationship on track for the life of the account.
- Get Up To Speed Fast. The Greyhound is the fastest breed of dog, able to accelerate to a top speed of 45 miles an hour. Its exceptional intelligence makes it a quick study as well. Once you get an order, hit the ground running. Knowledge of our clients business help us move from the position of “vendor” into the role of strategic advisor and trusted counselor.
- Stay Lean. The Greyhound has virtually no body fat, enabling it to move with remarkable grace, speed and agility.
- Stay Hungry. The biggest mistake any business can make is to take a client for granted to start viewing the client as a “source of revenue” rather than as a business which needs to thrive if the agency is to thrive. Every business needs to stay hungry for success the client’s success.
- Know When To Change Direction. The business world is always in “spincycle” and clients expect me to adapt, evolve and grow with the times.
- Don’t Bite The Hands That Feed You. While Greyhounds are extremely competitive, they are also very affectionate to those they know and trust. And that’s how a business should treat its clients and employees. Satisfied employees lead to satisfied clients because they produce better work and because their positive attitude is contagious.
- Don’t Get Distracted. In the heat of the race, it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish and that’s to create highly effective communication for the client, regardless of the size of the business.
- Go The Full Distance. If you don’t deliver what your client is looking for, a competitor will gladly jump in and take your place.It always pays to take that extra step. Deliver on every promise.Even if it means spending (investing) the extra dollar. Going the full distance also defines your reputation.
- Run the race to win. Never Settle For Second Place. In the end, the business that keeps loyal clients is the one that refuses to settle for anything less than the best the best employees, the best ideals, and the best work that can be done on every project.
By focusing on winning, everybody wins. George Doggett is a winner because his people are winners and he seeks to win for others. Now that’s a formula.
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Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlottebased Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/3331112 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org