People don't do business with storefronts, equipment, products, or anything else: People do business with people. Loyalty is the activity of doing business with the same people again and again. This activity is the sole basis of the loyalty relationship between customer and business. Remember, loyalty isn't an opinion or an emotion, it is only an activity. However, the activity of repeat buying is a response to the specific application of interpersonal skills. This relationship is strengthened as interpersonal skills are used and adapted to various purchasing situations.
Several years ago I attended a presentation where Lee Iacocca told a story that confirms this principle. At that time, Mr. Iacocca was the CEO of the Chrysler Corporation, and he told the story about one of his executive engineers. The executive engineer was having problems meeting deadlines and was complaining to his boss, Mr. Iacocca. The executive said, "I don't have any trouble with the engineering work. It's the people that are driving me crazy." Iacocca snapped back, "People! You're just having trouble with people? Hell, that's all we have around here are people." Mr. Iacocca was saying that without people, there is no business.
Businesses look as if they are made up of buildings, machines, inventories, and supplies, but the heart and soul of every business is the people. It is people that do the work, and it is people that buy products and services. How you deal with people is the most important factor in determining your success. It doesn't matter how complex the product might be, 80 percent of your success will be determined by your people skills and only 20 percent of your success will be determined by your technical skills.