Norton: Earning loyalty and trust, building commitment and love (column)
Loyalty is earned when trust is present. Zig Ziglar always said, “Trust is a transference of feeling.” He also would focus on the two letters in the middle of the word trust, “U and S, or US,” because trust is a two-way street.
So if loyalty begins with trust, and trust is about “us,” what are our expectations of others and how do we get to that place of mutual loyalty?
Think for a moment about our own loyalty to some of our favorite brands, stores and credit cards. Do we give our loyalty only because we are getting “points” or “miles” or some type of reward or cash back? Are we loyalists because they not only give us points, miles and cash back or some other incentive but in addition they also provide exceptional service? And lastly, have they earned our loyalty and commitment because they have earned our trust?
Incentive, service and trust: Sounds like a pretty good recipe for building mutual loyalty. Now, some people may disagree, and that’s OK. Some people that I spoke with feel like they are trapped and held hostage by certain brands because they have so many miles or so many points. Their status is at such a level that if they started all over with a different brand, they would not get the same perks.
I get that feeling; I get it because as a very frequent traveler, I used to feel the same way. It felt terrible. And then I remembered something: I am in control of the situation, which brand I choose and how I feel about the service I receive, and I can choose when and if I am willing to start all over. It is on me, not them. It was a freeing thought and moment.
Instead of giving momentum to the feeling of being trapped, I started to look for all of the good and the level of service that I was receiving. I looked at certain brands where I didn’t mind starting over and moving to a different bank, store, airline or hotel chain.
I am a loyalist at heart; I have my routines, my favorite brands, my go-to restaurants and my local businesses that I love to support. So when I started feeling trapped and “owned” by these companies, all I did was change my thinking from being trapped to feeling lucky and privileged to have such great service and loyalty in return.
Now let’s flip this whole thing around from having mutual loyalty with our favorite brands and stores to gaining commitment and mutual loyalty in our personal lives.
Remember, loyalty begins with trust, trust is transference of feeling and the most important part of trust is “us.” Is it any different? Are we providing the level of trust that our family or friends expect? Do we go out of our way to help and serve them whenever we can? Are we there for them when they need us?
You see, we don’t have to give or get points, miles or cash back when it comes to our family and friends; our reward is mutual loyalty, commitment, trust and, in most cases, love.
Who are those people in our circle who we know that we can count on? Who are our own go-to people? Can they count on us? If they needed something urgent or in the middle of the night, would we be there for them? Do we give that same level of care and white-glove service to the people we love and care about the most? What can we do to keep them loyal to us, to our brand as an individual, as a spouse, as a friend and as a partner?
Here’s what we can do: Look for the good, and expect the best in others. And when we think about our own brand and the actions and words we may use, we need to think about how others are looking for the good and expecting the best out of us, as well. And if we keep that thought top of mind, we are paving the way to mutual loyalty, commitment, trust and love.
How about you? Do you have your favorite brands where you feel great about the mutual loyalty and level of service? Or do you need to free yourself from feeling trapped? Are your personal relationships based on mutual loyalty and trust? Or could you try a little harder? As always, I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org. And when we can look for the good and expect the best, establish loyalty, commitment, trust and love, it really will be a better-than-good week.
Michael Norton is the president of the Zig Ziglar Corporate Training Solutions Team, a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.