Bryan Binkholder Discusses Loyalty, the Key to Limitless Success
Loyalty. What is it? The dictionary defines loyalty as a feeling of devotion, duty, or attachment to someone or something. Marketers talk about brand loyalty, marriage counselors talk about relationship loyalty, and employers talk about an employee’s loyalty to the company. We all want to see it in others, and we are often quick to write off a person, a brand, or an entire business when we feel they have not been loyal, — but today I want to turn the situation around and talk to entrepreneurs.
Do you want to experience unprecedented success in your business? Do you want to be the favorite, the benchmark everyone else looks to? The month of June is recognized as Rebuild Your Life Month, although it’s always a good time to look at things from a different viewpoint.
The lens we use to see situations, people and opportunities has everything to do with the way things unfold in our lives. Let’s take a look at loyalty.
What Are You Thinking?
First of all, I’m going to remind you of one of my favorite encouragements, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” If you are currently in a position where you find yourself looking at others and thinking to yourself, “Hey, I want that kind of marriage, that kind of business success, that kind of life,” and you’re struggling with feeling unsatisfied, it may be time to “take a look at how you look at things!”
Generally, the problems we have (or think we have) are pretty simple to resolve, –and almost 100% of the time the solution involves changing your focus.
- Do you feel like you’re not getting enough? Don’t look at what you’re not getting. Instead, it’s time to focus on giving.
- Do you wish someone you admire would cut you a break and mentor you? Find someone who’s not as far along as you and mentor them!
- Do you feel your customers aren’t loyal to you? Are you busy counting your losses? Instead, focus on being loyal to them!
I’m sure you’re getting the idea here. Our society is absolutely infested with a “me first” attitude. I see it all the time. If someone is asked to do something, the immediate reaction is often, “What’s in it for me?”
Just Google the phrase “customer loyalty” and you’ll be bombarded with thousands of self centered posts. Today I stumbled upon a website that calls itself the Customer Loyalty Institute. The site greets visitors with this startling paragraph,
“What is Customer Loyalty? Customer loyalty is all about attracting the right customer, getting them to buy, buy often, buy in higher quantities and bring you even more customers. However, that focus is not how you build customer loyalty.” — The Customer Loyalty Institute
So the quote above is sort of an oxymoron and it’s not surprising. It reminds me so much of the financial services industry. First the person states that customer loyalty is all about selling, selling and getting people to buy as much as possible, but then tries to backpedal a bit by adding that selling can’t be the focus. That last bit, about focus, that’s what I want to discuss.
True Loyalty (The Kind that Produces Results)
In order to experience true loyalty in any realm, business or personal, several factors must be present:
Adding Value - When Walt Disney dreamt of the first theme park, he didn’t say to himself, “Hey what can I build that will make me a ton of money?” Walt first began pondering the first thoughts of Disneyland when he was out with his daughters. He desired a cleaner form of amusement park, one that didn’t have all the negative connotations of traveling carnivals of the day. He desired something for his children to enjoy. Then it grew into something all could enjoy, since certainly an amusement park isn’t for private use, –well, not generally. The idea quickly sparked a passion that consumed him.
It no longer was about whether the dream would take long hours, dedication, or pushing past obstacles. It had become fun, –a passion is always that way. Adding value to the lives of others and seeing families enjoy what he had created, –that was the dream! Did finances follow? Of course, eventually, but it was about the dream, not about money.
Excellence – Vince Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” As an entrepreneur, I absolutely love the fact that I can pursue excellence without having to apologize. What do I mean by ‘having to apologize?’ Many of you can relate. If you work for a company that doesn’t strive for excellence, you’re always having to say you’re sorry to the customer. Every day you do your best, but you aren’t responsible for company policies that provide a poor customer experience so often you find yourself apologizing for other departments, other people, and maybe even the company itself.
If your organization isn’t operating in excellence, should you even bother? Absolutely! If you want to move on to bigger and better things it is absolutely vital that you don’t fall in line with the status quo. The Word tells us, “Be faithful in little and I will make you ruler of much!” In my business, I am constantly on the lookout for overachievers who work for other people. I love to recruit people to my team! A reward always follows excellence, often from unlikely places.
Integrity – Honor and integrity affect you on a highly personal level. You might cut corners in your business and no one will notice, but I’m going to tell you something and you can believe it or you can throw it away. When you operate in absolute integrity and honesty, you’ll experience a level of personal satisfaction and fulfillment in your business that breeds loyalty from your customers. I’m not talking about never making mistakes or doing something you regret. Business and life in general, is comprised of a series of learning experiences. We make mistakes, we fall down, we get up, and we go on.
Integrity is in the details. It’s about providing your coffee shop clients with organic coffee if that’s what you advertise. It’s about going the extra mile for your customer, spending more time than you should if necessary, and adding value to their lives just because you can. Do you know why people like to buy Jeeps? If you read the forums or listen to a Jeep owner it’s more about the relationships than it is the product. Jeeps have a sort of brotherhood. They have a Jeep wave and they are known for stopping to help another Jeep owner who is on the side of the road. If you take this thought and live your life this way, you’ll be building a legacy in your home, your business, and in the lives you encounter. What if everyone who met you was better off for the meeting?
If you gain a new perspective on the three areas I’ve mentioned above, you’ll never have to worry about customer loyalty. Loyalty and sales are simply byproducts. It’s the same with your relationship with God. It’s not about the benefits. The blessings may be a byproduct of the relationship, but that’s all. We don’t focus on the benefits. We focus on the relationship.
Bottom line? Be loyal to your customers. Be on their side, on their team, ready to add value to their lives. That’s what good business is all about, and as a bonus, it also creates a life well lived.