I'm Begging, Please Buy from My Competitor!

"I'm begging you, please buy from my competitor!" When have you heard those words coming from any business owner? The truth is - NEVER! Unless, of course, the owner could not meet a customer's request and he/she was simply putting the customer's needs first, even at the sake of losing a sale.

However, this article is not about meeting the customer's needs. It's about customer loyalty - particularly when it comes to friends, family, and those closest to you.

Don't you hate it when you spend hard-earned dollars promoting your business, only to find out a family member or friend didn't even consider supporting your business? Instead, you learn they went to a competitor and bought their product/service.

I must say, it's rather frustrating when these same people are begging you for sponsorship of their son's sports team, or hustling you to buy Girl Scout Cookies when that time of year comes around, yet they don't give you their business in return.

And family betrayal is even worse! These are the people whom you love, and their disloyalty cuts to the heart!

In essence, the reason they don't buy from you is because they don't trust you or your service/product. In essence, that is what they are secretly thinking, but don't want to tell you to your face. Albeit, they trust you enough to babysit or watch their family pet when needed.

Don't be disheartened when those closest to you don't support your business endeavors. It's NORMAL! It's rude and offensive, but more common than not.

Often, you will have better success appealing to strangers than those closest to you, unfortunately.

However, here are 3 tips to help you earn loyal customers:

Incentivize

This is your quid pro quo moment. Everyone loves freebies, and trust me - if you offer something of value in return for a customer's loyalty, they'll become your best marketers. An example would be offering a referral fee - for every customer they acquire, you'll pay them $____.

Be the first to support their business or cause

Even when they offer a product or service you may not need, buying their product and giving it as a gift to someone else is a great way to support them first. For instance, I have no need for women's beauty products (albeit they may do me some good), but I used to purchase them from a female friend just to support her business. Then I would gift it to someone who would truly use it.

Thank you

A simple "thank you" card and an occasional $5 gift card to Starbucks or Sonic with a note, "this drink's on me! Thank you for your loyalty and business!" will go a long way. Better yet, if you are in a business that provides gift cards or certificates, offer that instead. It's always better to offer them a gift from your own business first, when possible.