Today I want to talk about something that really bites me… Loyalty.
When I was working day-to-day in my kickboxing studio and creaming my “competition” (more on that in another post!) they used to make post on social media continuously pushing loyalty, and it’s importance.
Listen, it’s 2015, there is no loyalty.
Wait! What? No loyalty?
Well, let me explain…
My experience has been very simple: If you do your job properly, you never have to talk about loyalty, it just happens. It’s those that suck, it’s those that are begging, it’s those who’s coaching and teaching is sub-par, it’s those who don’t know how to deliver the benefits their clients are after, it’s those who are desperate that are always crying about loyalty.
In my 13 years front lining my studio, I never once had to give a talk or make a post or comment about the importance of loyalty. Yet I consistently kept clients year after year, and MANY have been at the studio since it’s humble beginnings.
Sure, back in the day folks were loyal till the end, but let’s face it if you aren’t delivering what they are after, or if you just plain suck and someone or something else can better help them, they’ll leave in a second. And here’s the kicker… If you never cry about loyalty or never make them feel like they aren’t “allowed” to go elswhere, if ever they do quit or venture around, they’ll usually be honest with you, they’ll STILL refer to you as home, and usually always come home. BUT, if they know you don’t allow training at other places, they keep it from you completely and are usually scared to go back in fear you’ll find out.
Listen, to me, we’re in the transformation business. Whether you own a gym, a kickboxing studio, a martial arts club, a yoga center, or whatever, we’re here to help people get the most out of their lives, and to get the most we must be continually be growing, and YES, that means doing as much as you can in your life. I’m an author, but I would never tell my readers they aren’t allowed to read any other books other than my own!
You get the point…
With that being said, here’s my recipe for absolute, till death do us part loyalty.
1 – Target Properly. If you’re using the shotgun approach at marketing and going with the spray and pray method, you’re probably attracting, and even signing up folks who are NOT looking for what you’re selling. Sure, in the moment, maybe they thought hey what the heck let’s give this a shot, but unless you specifically targeted their needs and are delivering them, they won’t stick around long term. So don’t just market to everyone, figure out WHO you want, WHO they are, WHAT their problems are, WHAT their needs are, WHAT they are after and deliver on your promises. And that brings us to point number 2…
2 – OVER Deliver. We live in a world that’s constantly changing and where our personal time is increasingly precious so you better make damn sure that you give them exactly what they came in for, AND some. Just like I would preach continual learning and growth to my students, you as a coach or entrepreneur must be continually learning, honing your teaching skills, learning new ways to coach, workout, train, run your business, etc.
3 – Reward and Remind. Humans are amazing. When we have a need, it’s all we think about, it’s on our minds non-stop and we can’t seem to get it out of our heads, but once that need is met, it’s instantly forgotten. BUT, just because the immediate need is met, does not mean that it won’t reappear the second you stop. Take fitness for example, sure once they start working out they feel great, but we all know if they take a break even for a week those new found results quickly fade away. It takes constant effort to keep needs met – and that’s part of your job. In my studio, I wrote many newsletters, often once a week, to remind folks of the importance of working out, the importance of being fit, the importance of self-defense, etc. I reminded them of how far they’ve come, and how much further they can go. Stagnation is dangerous, if you aren’t improving you’re falling behind.
Now, with all that being said, there will still be some bleeding out the back door. Students will still quit. Retention won’t be perfect. Life get’s in the way, people move, people pass away, people change sports, etc. That’s called “part of life” and it’s never going to be perfect, but there are MANY ways to significantly reduce and slow, or nearly stop, the bleeding – but that’s a topic for another post!
So the take away is simple: Be the best, and people will stay with you forever. Be average, and people will want to leave, even if you complain that they should stay loyal to you. So stop telling your clients they must be loyal to you, you’re not their boss, you’re not their parent, they are individual human beings who pride themselves on being able to do what ever they want, and you telling them they must be loyal instantly puts distance between you and the client. Instead, make them WANT to stick around with your actions, not your words.
To your success,