How To Build a Loyal Customer Base

I saw a question recently where someone was asking for advice on providing an Internet Marketing consulting service.

It was apparently their first, or one of their first, consulting gigs.

The question was full of vibes about how to protect themselves by making sure their client couldn’t take anything they came up with to another consultant.

It had a protectionist feel about it (self protection, that is).

But I think that’s the wrong approach.

I’m a great believer in ‘give and ye shall receive’.

It’s an approach that’s worked for me, and it’s worked for others too.

With that in mind, I’ve copied below the answer I offered:

Speaking from my own experience, I’d suggest you help this doctor for a minimal fee and use this project (assuming the good Doctor accepts your proposal) to learn the business of providing Internet Marketing consulting.

You can’t just rattle off a few points and be concerned about preventing him from taking your suggestions to his current consultant. That’s the wrong focus.

You should focus on building the relationship.

If you build the relationship with him, so that he trusts your advice and intentions, he won’t take his business (or your ideas) anywhere.

But he may well do so if he doesn’t believe you have his best interests at heart.

My suggestion:

Charge the doctor a minimal fee and focus on winning his confidence.

Demonstrate that you truly know what you’re on about and can provide better value than his current consultant/advisor can.

Work WITH the doctor, treat it as a partnership, learn and understand his business and provide the best advice you can.

Later, when people like the doctor are singing your praises and business is flooding through the door – that’s when you can start wondering whether people are taking your ideas to competitors.

But by then it probably won’t matter that much.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Brad Harmon 23 October, 2009, 2:30 pm

    Martin,

    I believe in the law of sowing and reaping myself. Whatever it is that you want sow it by giving it away to others. It’s funny on the reaping side though. Often times you find that you end up reaping where you didn’t sow.

    Just because you give to one does not mean that you will reap from that particular person. I have found that relationships always pay unexpected dividends if you work really hard to grow them. Have you found this true too?

    Brad
    .-= Brad Harmon´s last blog ..Is Your Small Business Kissable? =-.

    • WealthyDragon 23 October, 2009, 7:38 pm

      Brad, hi,

      Absolutely – because knowledge of what you sowed reached someone else. The power of reputation, and it works both ways.

      That old saying is so true: it takes years to build a solid reputation with your customers and one act to lose it.

      Cheers,

      Martin.

  • Stamler Sikorsky 23 October, 2009, 4:46 pm

    In my opinion, Brad Harmon is right. That is my experience. But it doesn’t have to be yours.

    Cheers, Stam

    • WealthyDragon 23 October, 2009, 7:42 pm

      Hi Stam,

      Nope – as you can see above – it’s mine as well 🙂

      Martin.

  • affiliate tutorial 23 October, 2009, 10:03 pm

    I think you can’t always protect your ides….I mean wouldn’t there be some kind of an agreement or is that like patient – doctor sicret?. But I agree on offering low a discount or whatever to gain the trust as well to prsent yourslef that you know what you are doing.

    Zoran
    .-= affiliate tutorial´s last blog ..Step By Step Affiliate Marketing – Free Tutorial updated Fri Oct 23 2009 8:12 am CDT =-.

    • WealthyDragon 23 October, 2009, 10:13 pm

      That’s my point, really – you can’t prevent someone taking your suggestions to someone else and, anyway, to try to do so is focusing on the wrong thing.

      Focus on building the relationship and providing such good value that it never enters your customers’ heads to find someone else.

      Cheers,

      Martin.

      • Brad Harmon 24 October, 2009, 12:16 am

        I might add that if you are selling the idea, or your product, then you are not selling the right thing. The product is almost a byproduct of the relationship that you bring to the table and how that relationship improves the life of your customer.
        .-= Brad Harmon´s last blog ..Is This How You Picture a Christian Small Business? =-.

        • WealthyDragon 24 October, 2009, 7:34 am

          I’ve not thought of it that way before…

          I’ve always thought of selling a solution, rather than a product. As in someone needs something to help them get from A to B more quickly and easily – the solution is a car.

          As with most things, though, there are thousands of places where you can buy a car and that’s where the relationship comes in.

          Everyone knows there are risks (the car may be a dog, you may need another in the future) and you want to feel confident that you’ll be helped when those problems surface – as they will.

          Interesting…

  • Wendy Meuret 25 October, 2009, 12:41 pm

    Agree! We plant many seeds, but we never know if they take root where we planted them or if the winds of chance move them to other fertile open soil.
    The sooner one discovers that our product is people, the better. Relationship building that fosters long-term customers based on discovering a need/want and providing a solution w/ a product or service will bless us with life long customers that will refer others to us. This is the GIVE TO GET shift.
    And when we build our personal skill set to be more effective we will be more profitable.
    How do you measure where you are right now with your skill set? We have to know where we are, so we can plan where we want to go.

    • WealthyDragon 25 October, 2009, 3:02 pm

      Hi Wendy,

      Interesting question on measuring where we are now with our skills – I really don’t know!

      I think the way I approach this is to review how I do things against the way it’s recommended to do them in various articles and courses that I read, and make changes where I fall short. So it’s like a continuous improvement exercise.

      But I don’t have a score for where I am now and where I want to be.

      How do you do it?

      Martin.

    • Brad Harmon 3 November, 2009, 2:58 am

      Wendy,

      I think I am with Martin – it’s a really great question that I don’t have an answer to either. I’m not sure I ever asked it before to be completely honest.

      One of the required components for any goal is that it be measurable. So you are correct. How will we know if we are getting better if we don’t measure it?

      Hmmm … I will have to ponder this one.

      Brad
      .-= Brad Harmon´s last blog ..Have You Been Recommended by God? =-.

      • Martin 3 November, 2009, 7:03 am

        It’s difficult to measure something if you don’t have anything concrete to count. With a ‘soft’ skill like this it’s tough to create concrete metrics without your writing becoming stilted and unnatural because you’re writing to hit your targets.

        It seems to me it’s one of those things where you need to be as attentive as possible to the reactions you get and continually improve where you see that you can. And that requires being honest with yourself – which can be tough.

        Cheers,

        Martin.