One of the most dangerous assumptions a salesperson can make is to act as if a customer owes you a measure of loyalty because of all you’ve done in the past.

True, many buyers do feel a sense of loyalty to their vendors. But it’s loyalty that’s freely given, not owed. And if circumstances change, it can vanish in an instant.

It’s safer to view customers as free agents who constantly make new discoveries, get information easily, and do not feel beholden to a salesperson.

‘Don’t take me for granted’
A survey of why customers leave came up with the following:

  • 3% simply move
  • 6% develop other relationships
  • 9% leave for competitive reasons
  • 14% are dissatisfied with the product or service
  • 68% leave because of an attitude of indifference toward them by the owner, salesperson or other employee.

The cost of complacency
The survey also found some compelling reasons why you should constantly be working to re-earn your buyers’ loyalty:

  • It costs six times as much to attract new customers as to keep old ones.
  • Seven out of 10 complaining customers will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint in their favor. If you resolve it on the spot, 95% will do business with you again.
  • A satisfied complainer will tell five people about how the problem was resolved.
  • A typical dissatisfied customer will tell eight to 10 people about the problem. One in five will tell 20.

Adapted from “How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life,” by Michael Le Boeuf. Published by Berkley Books.

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