Loyal customers are the difference between a business that succeeds and one that doesn't. This is because:
- It costs more to sell to someone new than to someone who is already a customer.
- Loyal customers create a foundation of repeat business.
- And someone who loves your business is more likely to tell others about it and send referrals your way.
Over the years, we've discovered ways to delight customers without giving away the farm, so to speak. Using these tools will help you create a sustainable, successful business based on happy customers.
In this podcast you will discover:
- How to offer free content that creates loyal customers down the line and keeps your best ones engaged
- How to deliver your service in a way that creates great customers and makes your business more sustainable
- When to turn people away in order to focus on the right customers for your business
Get more ideas for creating loyal customers and grow your network with other business owners in the Superabound Collective. Join today at besuperabound.com/collective.
Join Grow Smooth, the course for business owners who want sustainable growth, at besuperabound.com/grow.
Erin Aquin 0:02
Welcome to the Superabound podcast with master coaches Steve Haase and Erin Aquin where business owners like you learn tools that help you clarify vision, clear up static and overcome challenges. You are listening to Episode 265, how to create loyal customers. Hello, and welcome to the podcast, we are going to talk about one of my favorite topics, how to create loyal customers. This is something I think a lot of companies who do it sometimes take for granted. And it is something that I think eludes others. So we hope that this is a super helpful, informative podcast that gives you a lot of ideas about how to create not only the customers that you love to work with, but has them returning to work with you and refering people to you, you know, is maybe a little cheesy, but I do wake up on a Monday, very excited to get to work. And I know that that's not the case for many people in lots of businesses. Listen, I'm not going to deny that owning a business can be stressful. There's a lot to having a business that is not fun. But I'm very excited when I get to work with my clients. And you know, we don't have like 10 million followers or listeners, but we do have a very loyal customer base, a loyal audience base. And so thank you for being here. And listening. We're gonna give you all of our tips, tricks, secrets, things we have seen that are done well, and things that people do that, you know, you might want to not repeat in your business or your company. Hi, Steve.
Steve Haase 1:49
Hello, Erin. Hello, everyone. This is such a huge topic, there are entire industries devoted to exactly what we're talking about here. So by no means are we going to go into every possible way to create loyal customers. But there are some things that we've noticed that work really well. And things that do not work well. So that's what we're going to talk about. If I were to say that creating a loyal customer base comes down to any one thing, I would use the word care. I think that if you are actually responding to your customers with real care for what's good for them, for what their experiences for how significant it is that they are entrusting you with their time, their energy, their money, then you're on the right path. And it sounds cliche, or even weird to have something so squishy. And like Well, of course you'd care about your customers. But it is easy as a business to lose track of how important they are, how central they are to your success. I'll tell you a story. At a company I used to work for anytime there was a high level decision that needed to be made. And there was a meeting of all the powers that be they reserved one chair for a giant teddy bear. And that teddy bear represented the voice of the customer. So that as they were making all these very important business decisions, they always kept in mind, how this will impact the person that's not there as they're making those decisions. The customer, the person that keeps that business moving. So that was one trick that they used. But it comes down to this point of how much are you caring about that customer experience and about that relationship that you're creating with the people that are paying you.
Erin Aquin 3:35
And it doesn't actually matter whether you are like a solopreneur, where you are the one interfacing with your potential clients or your regular customers, or if you are a leader in a huge company, and you never talk to your customers. I think actually when you are not in touch with the humans that whose lives your product or service is affecting, I think it can be harder to keep this in mind. But I like the teddy bear, I think you know, have a teddy bear have a little, little statue of the person. I love that. And I think something that can help whether you are the person that interfaces with the folks who are your customers or you do that through many channels as the leader of a team is you first have to know what your customers care about. You have to know like you can care about people. But you have to know about what the specific people who are coming to your company your business want from you in order to care about them in a way that's actually useful to them. I think that this is where some business owners go wrong is they are they really care they will do anything for their customers. They will answer emails at 930 At night they will make concessions and change directions and change policies based on the wants of individuals. And it seems like care. But what it actually looks like to the greater world of your business is being inconsistent is flip flopping is changing your mind is saying, I have to please everyone and I will change directions every 10 seconds to please the next person. The thing with caring about what your customers care about is sometimes you're probably going to have to make decisions in your business that aren't, aren't what your customers necessarily want. You know, for us, as coaches, we have a business where we work with a lot of high level executives and business owners, and we help them solve internal issues on their team personal issues. You know, we are a sounding board for lots of things, we do special events for them. But as a result of that being who our clients are, we can't just pick and choose different aspects of our service to cobble together something that someone new comes in and wants. I think the thing with creating loyal customers is, I think there's a lot of lot to do with being consistent. Yeah,
Steve Haase 6:16
because that consistency reflects the health and quality of your own business. If you're creating something that is sustainable, and effective and has an impact, it's going to come with certain stipulations and rules of engagement. And if you are bending those all over the place, you are not going to actually be able to provide a quality customer experience, certainly not for the long term, because your business won't be sustainable as a business, right. So one way to create customers for the long term is to make sure that your business lasts for the long term. So in our business, for example, we have a cancellation policy. So how that works is if you're within 24 hours of your next session, and you need to reschedule or miss, then that the policy says that you forfeit that session. Now, as a customer, you probably don't want that to be the case. But for us as a business, it's what makes sense. And many times people will respond and say, I respect that. In fact, there's that moment if you've watched Ted lasso, right? When the therapist ends, right in the hour, she says, Okay, our time is up, he goes, I respect that, right, that moment where he's like, Okay, you have your boundaries, you're a serious person, and I'm going to rise to meet that that's what those kinds of things offer someone in your world.
Erin Aquin 7:35
And I mean, I want to speak to that, because when I was in foreign prior businesses, I was not very strict about my cancellation policy, you know, I would have kind of a moving target for like when it was kind of okay, or like what situation. And unfortunately, that actually trained a lot of my clients at the time that they could cancel at the last minute, like I could be driving to their house to teach them yoga, or they I could be sitting in my acupuncture clinic waiting for them. And they could just cancel and expect that they wouldn't be charged for the session or the time, I was at the time, so scared that I was going to lose clients by enforcing that policy. So from my own scarcity and my own insecurity about the strength of my business, I probably let people get away with a lot. I'm much better about that now, because I understand that if someone has something that is so important, that is worth missing their coaching session for then it's also worth forfeiting the session for. And if people don't like that, that, you know, we're not forcing them to work with us. But what I've actually found is we get clients who are much more serious about showing up, we're really understanding we're really accommodating, we will shift things around for people until that 24 hour mark. And then that's on them. It's it's actually a kindness to keep our policy across the board, not start making exceptions, because that doesn't actually help our clients show up for themselves. So this means that I've had clients show up for their sessions, even after something really big has happened in their life, and they probably wanted to stay in bed, but instead they came, they got some coaching or they got some support that they probably really needed. And so I'm proud of that policy. So
Steve Haase 9:34
if you want to reinforce the care that you experience for your customers, the care that you have and show for them, along with the consistency of operations and execution in your business. One of the best ways to do that is through the quality of your work the quality of your output. Now, if you think about your quality, of course your top tier stuff will meet that bar if someone Who's paying you? 10,000 100,000 A million dollars for that contract? It's going to be at the highest level, right? But what bar do you have for your marketing messages? What bar do you have for your podcast? What bar do you have for those free workshops that anybody can show up for? If you have a different approach to your free stuff, the fact is, your customers are also engaging with your free stuff, because they're going to be in your world, they're listening to your messages, and you're going to be resonating with them. So they'll show up on your webinars, they'll be listening to your podcast, if they notice that it's kind of junky over there, and you're mostly trying to sell them and it doesn't really feel all that good. That's going to impact their overall customer experience. Because what you're actually doing is you're saying, oh, yeah, these values that we have this vision for our company, it's only there some of the time, right? It's really only there, when people are paying us a lot of money. And when they're not, we don't really live by those values and vision, because we're really just trying to do what's expedient.
Erin Aquin 11:02
Yeah, that's so important. And, you know, and so for our business, it looks like VIP clients, they get their first choice of dates and times for any retreats or events that they want to come and have a speaker at, they get customized programs, we will coach them on anything they need, they get to choose their best time of day, for sessions, they get to prebook, you know, we really open up the world as much as we can to support them in the way that's best for them. And that and that investment is, you know, it starts at $15,000. I mean, I'm going to share our numbers right now, these are probably are subject to change, we're getting ready for the end of the year, chances are, they're going to go up, but I'll just share with you now. So you can kind of see the difference. Our program for business owners, that is more of a teaching product, it is called Grow smooth, it is standalone modules, we offer bonus workshop sessions. And we're actually going to be doing a really fun event starting in November, where once a week, we're going to walk folks through a tool in real time. But the people who are in growth smooth, they don't get their choice of when that session is going to happen. We of course will make the replays available for them. But we can't promise that the time and the date of our live sessions within that $2,000 product is going to always be what they want. And that might not work for some people. But that is the expectation we have to set so that we can support our VIP clients in the way that we've promised them. So it's a different expectation. But the product is amazing growth smooth is, you know, a very deep and helpful business building program. And we're very proud of it and we invite you to join it. If you have not already, you can learn more at besuperabound.com/grow. Then moving down the price here we have some lower cost programs that are usually standalone events. We just did a free five day tender inner flame journey last week, we made the replays available, did half an hour every day, we gave them a really helpful tool that you could use and change your life. Some of our VIP clients who pay us the most you can possibly pay us attended that free five day journey. And I'm happy to say all the clients who came to that event, loved it. They were thinking about that five day journey that we offered for free as part of their engagement with us. So you know we were not going to make that anything less than awesome. We, you know, of course wanted to bring in new folks and meet them and start to establish trust and safety and like let people kind of feel out how we do what we do. But the way we've created loyal customers is our clients can expect that when they show up to anything we do. We are going to give it everything we've got even a free session, even something that's open to the public, it is going to be something that will help them. And one time I was talking to one of my clients, she told me she loved the workshops. But she said I know I'm probably more open to it because I already work with you and I already trust you but I found it really really helpful. She had taken so many notes and she's not the only one. So my tip on this is yes, open the world to your top tier clients. But remember that the people who are checking out your free stuff. The people who are checking out your marketing message are both your top clients and brand new people who are just coming into your world for the first Time, what creates loyalty is not forgetting about the people who have already paid you in favor of fresh new leads?
Steve Haase 15:12
Yeah, I think a way to think about that is have that care that you feel for your very, very best customers all the way across your organization, down to your social media messages and the actual passion and urgency that you have for connecting with people, and really helping your next really great customer. That's gonna have an impact across your whole business. Now, this next one is kind of a moral issue. And it starts to get into some gray area where a lot of businesses operate. And they say, This is what makes our business great. But it actually if you look at it makes it kind of sleazy at times. And that is chaining your customer to your product. That might sound extreme, you might be like, Oh, we'd never do that. But it actually happens a lot in businesses, there are coaching programs out there, that people will never quit. And it's not because they're getting so much value, it's because they think that they don't have what it takes to succeed on their own. And so they just keep renewing and renewing and renewing. Again, not out of a sense of getting so much value, but out of a sense of scarcity out of a sense of lack, that they don't have what it takes. In the world of software. If you're hosting a blog, you would think that you could just switch platforms go somewhere else hosted another place. Some services make that easy, and others make it difficult, if not impossible, to kind of take your website down and put it somewhere else and easily recreated on another platform. And the folks that make it difficult to not impossible, if not impossible, probably think they're doing well by themselves. But what it actually does is it creates a bad taste in the mouth of every customer that wants to leave and suddenly finds themselves chained to your business. Also, it's lazy, let's be real. If you open the gates for a customer to leave anytime they want, if you know if they are Unchained, if they have no continuing obligation to you, that means you need to meet a very high bar. It's lazy, because you're banking on people's inertia to keep their business rather than on the actual results and growth that they're seeing from the benefits of your product or service.
Erin Aquin 17:38
It can be it's like it's done psychologically, sometimes through like fear mongering, it's saying, you know, you'll never as you you pointed out, like there are some coaching programs where the fear is so baked in that if you ever step away from this community and this teacher or coach, you know, you'll never get there on your own. And if you're not there already, you should keep doing this. It's just, it's your fault for it not working for you. Unfortunately, you know, that is kind of the dark side of a lot of consulting and coaching. And unfortunately, that something I think sometimes gets mistaken for loyal customers, but it's like scared customers. One of our kind of policies at the moment is when we are actually offering something for free. You know, we did the the attending Tria journey, we actually in the sales page in the landing page for that and in the information for that we really stressed that there would be no sell selling, I heard be no sales pitch, like, we did not spend one minute of our five day journey, trying to convince people to join our program. Now, there's nothing wrong with marketing. There's nothing wrong with letting people know how they can take the next step. But I've seen so many I think a lot of us are exhausted from the bait and switch of people saying sign up for my low tiered program or my free event that I'm going to have and then it becomes like, you show up and it's a Tupperware party, of whatever it is for your industry. Nobody likes that. It's just not the way I want to do business. And I don't think it actually creates loyal customers. I think if you do get sales from doing that kind of bait and switch where you're what was supposed to be a class turns into a three hour sales pitch. The people that come in are not usually going to be very loyal. And they're not usually the best customers because you probably had to do a lot of hard sales. One of the things that I think has helped us actually create a loyal customer bases. We treat our customers like adults. We work with adults, a lot of them are very smart business owners, high level executives. They do not need to be pushed or controlled. We don't, you know, personally, we don't want to work with folks who need to be pushed and controlled in their coaching, we want to actually help them have the impact they want to have in the world. So we're really only focused on helping people where that is the case. So if that sounds kind of similar to you, like why would you waste your energy pushing people. So instead of pushing and fear mongering, and twisting people's arms and like sending them 50 emails every day until you get an answer, our sales funnel is trying to provide really good shit to people all along the way, until they asked to work with us. Most of our clients we've worked with for years, they've come in through referrals, they've gone through our lowered our free things, our lower tiered things, they've taken some time to get to know us as coaches and then have begun a coaching relationship.
Steve Haase 20:58
And what that means for us is that we are focused on our vision and our values, as we are creating our product, as we're interacting with customers, as we're interacting with prospects and leads and the whole, you know, funnel of marketing and sales, we are doing our best to live our vision to be helping people realize the life the universe is dreaming for them, and create the programs and experiences that really live up to that it's a high bar, we're constantly asking each other, Does this meet the mark? Is this truly helpful? Can we cut this sidebar and actually get right to the heart of the business? Heart of the Matter? The thing that's gonna help people, and sometimes it's hard, right? There's egos involved. Gosh, when we were writing our book, and Erin was editing my sections, I was like, very offended that she didn't love everything that I wrote. She was like, Yeah, but it's not helpful, this isn't actually going to take the point deeper. And so I relented, and then I saw her point, and eventually got on board. But it's that kind of personal discomfort of actually going for it really trying to meet your vision, live from your values, that makes your company extraordinary. And that experience carries through to what your customers will feel, because you're showing that you respect them. That's how you earn that respect in return. And it's a wonderful thing, when that starts to happen.
Erin Aquin 22:30
Yeah, I think, you know, the if there, if there's a shortcut, I don't know that there's a shortcut. But if there is a shortcut to creating customer loyalty, it's this. Never stop being in awe, that someone would spend their time, their energy and their money with you in your business, maybe it's a free offering, they give you their email, and they're going to spend their time to like, read your free content. Don't take that lightly. Don't complain about that. Don't complain that, you know, this person reads all my free stuff, and they're not buying anything. It's your job as the business owner, to cultivate that relationship and help that person along if they are the best customer for you. And if they're not be really in awe of the fact that they are spending their time listening to you. If it is your lower or mid tier program or product, be in awe, that someone would take a chance on you because often that's like the way in for people. That's the way where someone can like, dip their toe in, they're making a little bit of an investment of their time, a little bit of an investment with their money, a little bit of trust in you and your company. Don't take that lightly, and hear the bell ring and just go on to the next one. care that that person is in your space checking you out, trusting that you are going to deliver what you promised, deliver what you promised, please. And finally, if you haven't a high tear program, if you have like a VIP situation, the way that we do never take it lightly, that people are investing a lot of their time, a lot of their money, a lot of their energy to create something and they want your help with it. They want what you do, or what you've created, to be part of their story and their bigger impact. Don't take that lightly and forget that. Your VIP clients are not just dollar signs. They're not just a check. And then you kind of like provide them with subpar service until the next time you have to invoice them. Treat those people like every encounter is worth the full price. I said whatever they paid you, this is how I have retained. So many of my clients for such a long period of time where, you know, the average in our industry is people will work with their coach for like three to six months. And that's it. I've worked with some of my clients for four years, they have been met with me since the moment I first started coaching. From the moment I started charging, I don't know, like 100 bucks a session. And they are still working with me now. Even as, as I have evolved as the coaching has evolved as the company's evolved as their price has gone way up. And they're still here. Because I treat every single session with those people. Like it's worth the full price of what they've paid me. I promise you, if you do this as a thought experiment, the next time you have a conversation with a client or a customer, it'll change the way you do business.
Steve Haase 25:59
So we talked about a couple of things on this podcast, particularly vision, values, your leadership, how you interact with customers, if you're looking for a place to really get clear on those and start living them. Day to day, week to week in your company. Grow smooth is for you. Come take a look. We're doing a special program with it in November where we lead the live sessions walking you through the different exercises. We'd love to see you there. Head over to besuperabound.com/grow to learn and get started. Thanks for listening