Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Where are You on Their Loyalty Ladder? … and How to Move Up

I had coffee this weekend with my friend and book coach, Jill Hendrickson. She asked if we could meet at Fig Garden Village. Anywhere that I wanted, as long as it was in Fig Garden. Given the option to pick the location for a coffee meeting, how do you choose where to meet?

I call it my “Loyalty Ladder.” At the very top of the ladder are Clovis Chamber members. If given the choice of where to meet, I’ll pick a chamber member. If there aren’t any chamber members within the area, then the next rung down is locally owned. After that, the loyalty goes to a variety of businesses: healthy food choices, recommended by a friend, or positive perception. And of course, location and convenience have to come into play. I’ve had coffee at Starbucks because they are everywhere including halfway between wherever my business connection and I are coming from.

Here’s my “Loyalty Ladder.” I prefer to do business with the first one on the list. If that’s not available, then the next one, not available, then the next one, etc.

Clovis Chamber member
then
Locally owned
then
Recommended (or preferred) by a friend
then
Previous experience
then
Small business
then
Only place with the product
then
Whatever is available

Where are you on the “Loyalty Ladder” of your customers? Do you want your business to be the source of last resort? Or are you their first choice, whenever possible? Are you in a particular category that is appealing to a certain group? For example, I’m guessing that people who drive Prius’ prefer to do business with green companies. NASCAR fans will buy from companies that sponsor their driver.

Do you notice one thing about my personal “Loyalty Ladder?” You can move up it by being recommended by a friend. If I have the choice of two businesses, one that I know nothing of and the other that has been mentioned, of course I’ll go for the latter. Sure, quality of product and cost of their service comes into play. But unless prices are wildly different, I’ll still go with the business where I feel like I have some kind of relationship with them. If you’ve got a product that is very similar to someone else product and price isn’t a factor, what is going to move you higher up the ladder than your competition? The quality of the relationship you have with the customer.

I do business with Chamber members because I usually know them and I like them because they choose to support my organization and the community. I do business with locally owned companies because even though I might not know the owner, I feel more connected to them because they are from the same town. People want to do business with people and businesses that they know, like and trust. Networking and building personal relationships with people can move you up their ladder.

Get out there and start climbing!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent write up, Beth! This is why we network and encourage others to do so.
    It is important to cultivate as we call it at the Salvation Army "COMMUNITY PARTNERS-Establishing caring relations." I might also add that to retain a partner, that we listen carefully to their concerns and victories so we can learn and encourge their heart to be the best they (and me) can.
    Blessings, Hap

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