Loyalty is the bond that holds your business together. It is what makes your employees want to come to work in the morning. Loyalty keeps your customers buying from you instead of your competition. It is what endears you to those around you. Loyalty is a common trust, a devotion and a bond.
Websters defines Loyalty as the quality or state or an instance of being loyal or possessing fidelity. Loyal: giving or showing firm & constant support or allegiance to a person or institition.
There’s a general misconception that loyalty is based on position. You provide the paycheck, your employees should be loyal to you and the company. After all you’re the boss. Right? You bend over backwards for the customers. They should be loyal to you. Right? Not so fast… Loyalty is not automatic, it has nothing to do with your position in the equation. It must be earned and it must be nurtured and maintained.
Loyalty Must be Mutual
As the leader in your organization you want loyalty. Well, so does your team. It is every bit as important for you to be loyal to your team members as is it for them to be loyal to you.
Fidelity to your organization does not just happen, it is a process. It is based on trust and mutual respect. Once you have earned it, stay the course as it can be destroyed very easily.
The foundation stones for balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty. – Zig Ziglar
Zig hit the nail right on the head. I believe strongly that loyalty is based on several of the items he mentioned. As a business leader, if you are found lacking in honesty, character or integrity you will quickly destroy any modicum of loyalty that existed.
The same can be said with your customers and vendors. The best way to destroy a business relationship it to lie. A lie will absolutely destroy a 20 year relationship with your BEST customer. Your integrity and character are on the line every day. Don’t destroy them with a laps in honesty.
Lasting Loyalty is Longevity
It’s easier to keep a customer than to go out and get a new one (and cheaper). Same with employees. Maintaining long and lasting professional relationships gives your business stability and longevity. Get ’em, treat ’em right, give ’em your loyalty and keep them forever!
I have a loyalty that runs in my bloodstream, when I lock into someone or something, you can’t get me away from it because I commit that thoroughly. That’s in friendship, that’s a deal, that’s a commitment. Don’t give me paper – I can get the same lawyer who drew it up to break it. But if you shake my hand, that’s for life – Jerry Lewis
I love that. Wouldn’t it be great to have a bunch of Jerry Lewis’ around? That ‘s the type of loyalty you need to foster with your team, your vendors and your customers. They need to know that you have their back. Give loyalty and they will have your back too.
I have been in a position to serve customers for almost 30 years now. I have created some very long lasting business relationships. I have a hand full of customers that I consider friends. These loyal relationships were built over the years on honesty and integrity. I have always tried to provide a valuable service at a fair price, and deliver what I promise, when I promise it.
Sadly, I have gone the other route a time or two as well. Those are some sad stories, but they have resulted in priceless life lessons. Out of my shortcomings has come knowledge and experience, I call that wisdom.
Have you had a long standing business relationship with a customer or client? Have you ever made a mistake and lost one? Please share your story in the comment section. Your story will undoubtedly help a fellow reader.