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Craig Huntington

Craig Huntington

Loyalty: An Invaluable Part of Success

Posted by Craig Huntington
Craig Huntington
Craig Huntington received his Bachelor of Science degree in business from Oregon
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on Tuesday, 24 January 2012 in Blog

If you’re not from the West Coast, you may never have heard of In-N-Out Burger. In-N-Out was founded in 1948 and became California’s first drive-through hamburger stand. I’ve eaten my fair share of In-N-Out burgers – best burger in the world – and would recommend them in a heartbeat, especially if you order it “Animal Style.”

In the beginning, the founders sold 7-Up from their drink fountain. Try to find a drive-through that serves 7-Up these days. It’s either Pepsi or Coke, Coke or Pepsi. Sure, In-N-Out serves Coke too, and root beer. But every time Coke offers to put Sprite into their restaurants for free, the owners say, “No way. 7-Up was there when we started. They gave us machines when no one else would. 7-Up is our brand, and we’re not giving them up for anything, even free Sprite.”

Now that’s loyalty. That’s building a relationship, nurturing it, and sticking with it through thick and thin. Strong relationships are at the heart of most success stories.

I believe in loyalty. I believe that loyalty is a two-way street; you can’t expect it if you don’t show it. But loyalty is not something that just magically happens.

I was attending an industry conference recently when a property manager I’d signed up nearly four years before came up to me and said hello. When we first met, he was only working with three or four homeowners associations at the time, and he’d been turned down by any number of banks because he “just wasn’t big enough.”

Well, he was big enough for us, and I could see that he had what it took to be successful. We signed him up. Now, four years later, he had grown to 50 or 60 homeowners groups and was doing great.

He pulled me aside at the conference and said, “Craig, I’ve got a story I just have to tell you. Every week the rep from the big bank downtown comes into my office, and every week he asks me when I’m going to start banking with him. This is the same guy who turned me down when I was getting started four years ago. I remember him saying back then, “Oh, you’re too small. We can’t do business with you.’ Now, every time he comes in asking for my business, I tell him, ‘Do you really think I’m going to move from CAB? Where were you when I needed your help four years ago?”

He looked at me and said, “You were there for me, Craig, and I’ll always appreciate that.”

That’s loyalty. Loyalty is a by-product of strong relationships, and nothing motivates people like a committed investment in a mutually gratifying relationship. The workplace is no different than any other part of your life when it comes to this. You have to do it with your spouse, your friends, and co-workers.

The same rule applies to customers. Big or small, every customer deserves the royal treatment. If for some reason you can’t provide it, then don’t solicit their business.

Loyalty is earned. It’s a long-term commitment. You can’t put a price tag on loyalty. It’s invaluable. Unfortunately, too many people don’t see it. They think in the short term. And while the short term is important, it’s in the long-term where success truly lies.

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