What is your definition of success? Many people feel that reaching a goal is success. A salesperson might believe that making the sale is success. I think the best definition of success is: "Making progress towards a worthwhile goal."
Think about raising children. Think about success in raising children. When do you become successful in raising your children? Is success attained when your children graduate from college, get married, have children of their own, or retire successfully? At what point do you proclaim success for raising your children?
Raising children to be good citizens; productive workers; and happy, fulfilled individuals is a worthwhile goal. I also think the process of raising children continues throughout the parents' and the child's life. However, I believe success can be proclaimed all along the way. You are successful when you are making progress towards a worthwhile goal. When you are able to teach little Johnny the benefits of bathroom etiquette, you are successful. When little Alice learns to get along with other classmates, you are successful. All along the path of raising children you can be successful. You do not have to wait until little Sally becomes CEO of Acme Worldwide Services to proclaim yourself, or little Sally, successful. Success is making progress along the way toward a worthwhile goal. At any point in the child-rearing process you may be skeptical of the overall outcome. You may have doubts and wonder if your child will be the only kid attending college with a pacifier and dragging a teddy bear around. Relax. The key to current success is commitment. Once you commit to the accomplishment of a worthwhile goal, you've made the step. You are successful as soon as you begin to see progress.
Developing customer loyalty is a worthwhile goal. Your life and your customers' lives will be enhanced through a relationship of loyalty. Your life is enhanced because you are rewarded financially in evergreater proportions, and you have brought greater value to others. Your customers' lives have been enhanced because they have a dependable supplier that understands them and delivers goods and services in a way that earns their loyalty. When you proclaim customer loyalty as your goal, you are committing your conscious and subconscious mental resources to this accomplishment. Your success begins with the proclamation.
Do you know about O. Alfred Granum and the One Card System? Granum developed a selling method he called the One Card System, which is used by insurance agents and other sales professionals all over the world. The One Card System uses 3 x 5 index cards to store information about a prospect. The salesperson writes down as much information as is known about a prospect on the card and files the card by the next contact date. Over a period of time, the salesperson develops information about the prospect and continues to contact the prospect on a periodic basis. For the most part, the salesperson places more value on the prospect's name and other information they have gathered than on making a sale. The idea is that with enough contact over a period of time, the prospect will do business with you. Probably most important is the salesperson's feeling of inevitability that the prospect will eventually do business with him or her.
Granum's method is really based on the notion of building a relationship to produce loyalty. If the salesperson treats the prospect in a loyal manner, eventually most prospects will treat the salesperson with responding loyalty. It begins with the salesperson's belief and manifests in the customer's eventual purchase. Salespeople who use this method send birthday and holiday cards, notes of congratulations when the prospect gets recognition in the newspaper, and they follow up on a periodic basis through phone contact. The salesperson treats the prospect as a loyal customer. The Granum method is really terrific because it causes the salesperson to focus on customer relationships rather than on a sale.
Many salespeople want to first identify their most loyal clients and then treat them as loyal clients. Granum teaches us to first identify a group of prospects as the people we would like to be loyal customers. Then we begin treating them as if they were already loyal. Granum's message is that before you see and receive, you have to believe and give.
The ability to focus on the relationship rather than on making a sale is critical in developing customer loyalty. We want our clients and customers to be loyal. If we want our customers to buy from us on a repeat basis and to freely encourage others to buy from us, we must take the first step and believe in them and treat them as loyal customers. Our focus must be: The customer I am dealing with right now deserves everything I have to give to my most loyal customer. Every prospect I have has the capacity to be my most loyal customer. By maintaining this focus, we are encouraging and creating loyalty.