Have you ever considered how we came up with the name “network marketing” and what it means?

Marketing means exposing, sharing, and ultimately selling. Your network is the circle of people you know or influence. Network marketing professionals will tell you that your goal should be to create centers of distribution by using the product or service yourself and marketing it to your network.

Your company pays you when members of your network purchase the products. When you sponsor new distributors into your business, you are in turn setting up more points of distribution for your company’s products. The company pays you overrides on the business that results from the centers of distribution you have built.

Now let’s talk about the most important element of any business: customers.

All companies need them to be profitable. What good is it to have multiple centers of distribution and no customers? 

Too often we see network marketers focus on recruiting new distributors all day long but never on acquiring customers. This can give our profession a bad name. And frankly, it’s not only bad business, it’s illegal in many countries.

If customers are every company’s lifeblood, then what’s the best way to get them—and keep them?

This is the conundrum facing every company on the planet, and the answer is simpler than you think. In fact, it’s common sense. 

Mark Twain said, “I don’t know why they call it common sense; it really isn’t all that common.”

Obviously, people become your customers if you share your product with them and they conclude it has value. Clearly, if you have a good product, you can get lots of customers by sharing it with lots of people.

Next, how do you keep them?

A recent study shows that 68 percent of customers who leave, do so because of perceived indifference, meaning they didn’t feel appreciated.

Often, in an effort to produce high volume, network marketers just sign up customers and move on to the next one. They treat their customers as dollar signs and decimal points instead of human beings. They give you their A-game and all their love and attention until they close the deal, and then you’re on your own.

This is bad in any business, but it’s detrimental in network marketing, where often your customers are your friends.

Take my advice and spend more time appreciating your customers. Call them on their birthdays. Send them thank-you and holiday cards. Go out of your way to give them a world-class customer experience. Not only will they appreciate you right back, they’ll stay with you forever and will even refer you new business.

Remember, if you don’t love and appreciate your customers, somebody else will.

TOMMY WYATT has been a top-producing network marketing professional since 1998. He built and trained large organizations around the world and is the coauthor of Appreciation Marketing: How to Achieve Greatness Through Gratitude.