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Secrets to building a large and loyal customer base

By Brian Barfield

90457856-mainI am excited to start a new series on what I see is the proper way to build a large loyal and dedicated customer base. Over the course of the next several articles, I will share secrets to success that have made my selling career fun, easy, and effective. Many of you who have followed my articles over the years already know the main ingredients to Modern Day Selling: serving while selling; selling with passion and energy; creating a show-time experience; and impacting the customer’s life in a meaningful way. However, there is much more to be discovered that will allow you to see the bigger picture of true and lasting success.

Many sales associates start their careers with a passion and fire to serve the customer and achieve success in sales. As newbies, they greet every single customer with zeal and excitement. It is always refreshing to watch someone new to the retail world and how they react to every opportunity that presents itself. This can also be true of a seasoned veteran who may be starting at a new location. The bottom line is they are trying to make their mark and set the tone for future success by proving they have what it takes.

Now fast forward a year or two after these sales associates have found some success and learned a few new skills. During this time, they have discovered many new things—unfortunately, not all of them are good. What you often will find is that after a season, they get tired of helping all the customers with repairs or small sales that appear not to have big-dollar potential. They have taken notice and watched as the top dogs in sales just sit back and wait for the big opportunities, while they work 10 times harder to get the same results. As their customer base grows, they follow suit, as a new wave of sales associates come in and take their place and the cycle begins again.

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What they do not realize is those top dogs have worked very hard to build a solid customer base, which creates opportunities that seem easy and effortless. The problems come when sales associates stop building their customer base and settle for what they have already created. Eventually, it dwindles if they don’t add new loyal customers every year.

Many of you know what I am sharing with you is very true and is a perfect example of how laziness and greed can hold a sales associate back from greatness. Many simply sell themselves short and miss out on a lot of business they forfeit to others. That $600,000 producer could be a $1,000,000 producer when they recognize they have lost their enthusiasm. They have bought into a lie and missed numerous opportunities to impact people’s lives in a meaningful way and make even more money.

These sales associates often become more focused on the amount of the sale and potential commission dollars, rather than serving customers and meeting their needs. In time, their customer base dries up and they are left with clients that are not really loyal to them. With no real customer base or foundation from which to draw, they must rely on the big sale every month to make ends meet. If they don’t get the big sale opportunity, they almost always have a bad month. I’m sure many of you have a colleague like this in your store or know someone who operates this way.

The sales associate who is prosperous is the one who sells every single customer with the same passion and energy they had when they first began their career. All clients who walk through the door are valuable to them, even if it is only to replace a watch battery or take out watch links. When you are able to sell these customers with the same enthusiasm and quality of service as your high-end clients, they will remember you when the time comes for a bigger purchase. Even if they don’t have the means to purchase high-end jewellery, they may mention you to family members or friends who can afford nicer things. Trust me—I’ve seen it happen all the time.

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I have worked in the same location for the last nine years and built a very large and loyal customer base by selling with the same passion and energy I sold with from the beginning. I always like to be the first one up to greet the customer, no matter how they are dressed or what their buying potential is. Sure, I may miss a big sale every now and then, but what I get in return is far greater because my customers remember me and ask for me. I am always building for future success. I encourage every sales associate, new and old, to examine your career and see it with clarity. Make sure your priorities are in the right order and your customers’ needs come first. If you do, you can have a more meaningful and successful sales career.

If you are a sales associate who is looking to take your career to the next level of success there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

1) Do I still sell every customer with the same passion I did when I began?

2) Is the sale still about meeting my customers’ needs?

3) Is my focus more on the sale amount or commission earned?

If the answer is no to the first two questions and yes to the third, you have just found the solution to the problems you may be facing. All you have to do is focus your attention on selling every single customer with the same passion, along with adding to the knowledge and selling skills you have developed over the years. When your focus is on meeting your customers’ needs and impacting their lives in a meaningful way, beautiful things begin to happen for you and your sales career.

As I write this article, I have just finished my 20th Christmas season on the sales floor and broke my previous record for December sales, which I set last year. It was the easiest Christmas selling season I have ever experienced. Even during this hectic period, I still enjoy taking the time to sell my loyal customers and impact their lives in a meaningful way.

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If you feel like you have lost passion and energy or feel burned out, I suggest you read the article, “Maintaining your levels of passion and energy and understanding life’s defining moments,” which can be found on my website,


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