Every company wants more loyal customers. Your organization is no exception. And you’re probably pretty clear about why that’s a goal. When companies say they want more loyal customers, they mean they want customers who give the company a bigger share of their business over a longer period of time.

So far, so good. The trouble is, very few companies understand what customer loyalty actually is, or where it comes from, or how to build it. So while organizations spend a great deal of time and money on efforts to persuade customers to become loyal, those efforts are really just aimed at increasing satisfaction. And satisfaction is all they ever create. Even when the efforts work, achieving satisfaction is the best they can do.

What’s wrong with that? Only this: Sure, a satisfied customer is better for your business than an unsatisfied one, but a satisfied customer will go right on shopping for a better deal—better service, more favorable terms, a lower price. A satisfied customer is only yours until one of your competitors matches you or ups the ante. As you may have noticed, your competitors are always upping the ante.

A customer is not really loyal to you until he or she has stopped shopping for the sort of products or services that you provide. Genuinely loyal customers are those who have gone deaf to your competitors’ appeals and enticements and “limited-time special deals.” Their relationship with you is too valuable for them to consider giving up…

Duane Sparks

About Duane Sparks

Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).

Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).