Don’t Get Customers. Create Followers

He could have lost me as a customer. But instead, he won me over as a follower.


​Kyle (not his real name) was offering training videos which I can watch on-line for a modest fee. So I gave one a try and enjoyed the learning… until the video kept on buffering in the middle. It remained stuck half-way no matter how many times I refreshed my device.


I told him of my frustration through private messaging. From the seen icon, I knew he read my complaint. He could have ignored me. Worse, he could have blamed my device or internet connection. Instead, he did something I never thought he would. He gave me a link through which I can download that video… free!


If Kyle were to offer me another product, would I buy from him again? You bet! That’s because Kyle did not see me as a peso sign, but as a person. He took his mission to help seriously. In short, he cared.


The paradigm is that, in selling, don’t look for customers. Create followers who will buy from you even when there is a better deal elsewhere. Here are three principles to do just that.

Don’t: Expect Loyalty.
Do: Earn loyalty.


When I was in sales and marketing, I used to tell my people: “It’s easy to get the first sale. The challenge is to get the repeat order.”


Loyalty is rarely bestowed upon you when your product or service is at par with your competitors. That’s why the passive order-taker will usually resort to gimmicks such as discounts and promos. The superior tactic is to do something pro-active and unexpected that touches the customer’s heart. Create an emotional bond with your client that your competitor will find hard to dislodge.

Don’t: Keep your customers waiting.
Do: Keep your followers raving.


A seen zone is a kill zone for future business. What if Kyle had seen my PM’s complaint and ignored it? I would have lost all appetite to buy from him again. But when he gave me that link, that was a WOW! moment for me.


It wasn’t about the video. It was about trust. He took a risk that I won’t spread that video around and hurt his future sales. I won’t, of course, but I felt honored which I will happily reciprocate by buying from him again.

Don’t: Think one-time.
Do: Think big-picture.


Imagine again had Kyle thought like these:

  • I’m too busy to attend to it.
  • What’s one dissatisfied customer? I have plenty of others.
  • If I made it up to Nelson, it would cost me more than what I earn.


A popular statistic, attributed to Coca Cola in the 1980’s, says that a happy customer will tell three people, but an unhappy customer will tell ten. That’s nothing compared with today’s social media. Had I ranted about the bogged-down video in my Facebook, Kyle would have lost not just me, but my 1,000+ friends.


Conversely, that downloadable video was a modest investment that not only rewarded him with my wholehearted testimonial, but my interested peers as well.


With buyers bombarded by all sorts of offers and deals through digital channels, you need to stand out. When you do something wonderful and unexpected, you will make them ask you “What else do you have?”


This article was first published on LinkedIn. Connect with me for the latest articles.

Photo by Sebastian Hermann, Unsplash

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