Who doesn’t love a loyal customer? But do we fully understand and appreciate the benefits of customer loyalty and its effect on professional selling? In a recent article for customerthink.com, Turning Client Defection into Client Perfection, author Tom Cates quantifies the value of loyal customers, stating that compared to transactional customers, loyal customers…
- Produce 3X the amount of business
- Require 41% less work
- Stay engaged in the relationship 4X longer
Cates asserts, “Each of these benefits is directly correlated to increased profit and a strengthened bottom line. The longer the relationship, the higher the retention rate and the more opportunities there are to up-sell, cross-sell and obtain referrals.”
In Carew’s Dimensions of Professional Selling® sales training, we use the Position Progression Model to assess our position with each customer or client organization. Customer loyalty is the single most powerful driver of Position Progression, and only sales professionals who possess the skills to build trusting and productive customer relationships will have the opportunity to function in the role of trusted advisor and ultimately attain Preferred Position. How, then, can we cultivate the customer loyalty that drives Position Progression? Cates identifies six dimensions of a loyal, trusted advisor relationship:
- Integrity – Are you reliable and trustworthy?
- Competency – Do you have the skills and capabilities to deliver on your promise?
- Recognition – Do I feel valued, or am I just another relationship?
- Proactivity – Do you look out for me and protect me from surprises?
- Savvy – Do you understand my world and help me to be successful?
- Chemistry – Do I like working with you?
To the degree that the Position Progression Model helps us assess our status with any given customer, assessing our function in each of these six dimensions may help us identify specific opportunities to strengthen the relationship, improve customer loyalty, and ultimately attain Preferred Position.