Have you heard of – C.A.N.I.? It means constant and never ending improvement. It’s a standard Tony Robbins teaches. I heard it for the first time in 2005 and never forgot it. I do my best to live by that standard and keep looking for ways to improve any area of my life. It helps keep me in check and I have seen my clients apply it to their mindset as a tool to stay on track.


What’s your tool?


marla Ritz CarltonC.A.N.I. proved its worth one more time in the last few days when I was researching ways to improve my brand loyalty and business on several levels. A major aha moment happened when I grabbed a book off my shelf that I had not read in a while, “No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent Guide to Getting Really Rich,” by Dan Kennedy, and began reviewing his case studies about the affluent mindset and expectations. His no holds barred candid style of mentoring spoke loud and clear about one area I believe every business owner could use more C.A.N.I.


And that’s a sharp, proven, gold standard system for consistent referrals. No better strategy for brand loyalty than a happy, glowing referral by your clients to their circles of influence!


In a world where etiquette and manners I feel have lost some of its impact and luster due to the casual nature of the social media (note: there is a place and time for the power of social media and I am big advocate of it especially with branding), but I’m going to take a renaissance approach here.


The sharp, proven, gold standard system for consistent referrals is to bring back the “Wow Factor” in our customer and client service.


When we go well beyond expectations of our clients and give them those special “extras” that simply “wow” them – we have the making of a raving fan and loyal client who will refer us for months and years to come. Referrals are the lifeblood of our businesses and I think it’s the most challenging area to be consistent in.


That “going the extra mile” seems simple but it’s often overlooked as a powerful way to receive consistent referrals. No worries! I’ve got some ideas for you. Hang tight!


The Gold Standard Ritz Carlton has a stellar reputation and referral status for good reason. They are renowned for their elite customer service that starts from behind the scenes in how they are trained and treated within the organization. There is no reason why any small to large volume business could not be known for the same reputation.


marla Gold StandardIn fact, the book, The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, offers key principles any business or company can provide to match the high level customer experience. The three areas for you to think about are:


  • Understanding the ever-evolving needs of customers
  • Empowering your team by treating them with the utmost respect
  • Anticipating customers' unexpressed needs and concerns


I especially watch for the third bullet point often. What is my client not saying that I can intuitively act upon. Anticipating a need without being asked is always a winner in the eyes of the client.


Nordstrom is another excellent example of brand loyalty and reputation due to high level customer service. Nordstrom and Ritz Carlton have the same integrity behind the scenes as in public, too. How do I know? Not only have I read it often but I experienced the training behind the scenes when I had a part-time job with Nordstroms while living in Colorado back in mid 90’s during a challenging time in my life.


Nordstrom is my default place to shop even if it may cost more because I know I will be treated with respect and they will exceed my expectations in service. I have plenty of choices to purchase items at other stores – but I will usually go directly to Nordstrom knowing I will have pleasant, overly helpful, top notch service and I am glad to pay an extra $5-$20 for my item because of that.


Can you say that your business stands by that type of reputation?


This is value over price and that’s something to aspire to for consistent cash flow, brand loyalty, raving fans, and consistent referrals. (By the way, that’s what the affluent market typically looks for – value over price)


Here are three areas in your business to evaluate where a “WOW” experience could make the difference between a repeat client or lost revenue:


1. What is your “welcome” system the moment your clients sign on with you? I recommend not just one “gift” at the beginning – but a series of three welcome experiences that help them feel like a VIP. The first welcome may be a personal card hand written by you and mailed. The second welcome may be a gift that fits their interest. I usually give my VIP clients books, spa services, or baskets filled with goodies they like. The third welcome experience could be a personal call from your lead customer service team member congratulating them on their decision to hire you and offering ideas to make their first month seamless.


2. What is your “middle of the program or project” system to “wow” the client or customer? I’ll offer up a bonus call where I think they need more support or send another gift especially if it’s a birthday, anniversary or holiday.


3. What is your referral program after they are completed with your program or service? Do you offer complimentary evaluations during the year to maintain the success they had with you? Do you have client appreciation events 1-2 x a year?


A fourth highly recommended idea is to thank your client immediately when you do receive a call or email due to their positive referral! Please, please thank them always. These are just a few of so many creative ways to knock the socks off your clients who will be your loyal raving fans for years to come when they know you went beyond what was expected and made them feel like a King or Queen.


They will reward you by giving glowing referrals and your brand loyalty will stand strong and tall amongst the density of our fast moving world.


Let’s take a look at your referral strategy and see if we can uplevel it to strengthen your brand loyalty! Send an email to my team support@marladiann.com to schedule a 30 min evaluation. I’m here to help.