Relationship Building for Long-term Repeat Business

Jim Masson

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Most business owners, along with most salespeople, understand the value of relationship building in securing customer loyalty and consistent long-term repeat business. Unfortunately, many are not aware of the ‘cornerstone technique’ that must be present to sustain this ongoing loyalty.

It forms part of, the all important, integrity issue. I am not referring to what most people consider when the think of integrity, which is often equated with ‘honestly’. However, it is very closely related. I am referring to ‘consistency of behavior’ when interacting with the repeat customer. Why do I call this the ‘cornerstone technique'?

The main reason most people repeat any behavior, including spending their hard earned money, is because it makes them feel good. Any change that may damage that ‘feel good’ experience for the customer can put their ongoing continuing loyalty in doubt.

Let me offer a simple example of what I'm describing. Let's say that you frequent a local coffee shop a couple times a week.

You like their food, their coffee is ok, but it's not your favorite blend and they are a little expensive compared to the other coffee shops in the area. However, the decor is fabulous, it's very neat and clean, it's a family business with the owner behind the counter interacting with virtually every customer in a friendly manner and you feel good going there.

Then you drop in two or three times in a row and notice that the owner isn't smiling or interacting anymore. You aren't feeling as special or appreciated as you once felt. Suddenly, the ‘feel good’ goes away and you now just see the higher prices and the fair coffee. If the good feeling can't be restored quickly, chances are that you will find a new coffee shop to frequent.

Master salespeople are part of the ‘feel good’ experience for their customers. Try to maintain ‘consistency of behavior’ at all times. You will keep more of those hard earned customers.

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