Ever been surprised when a customer cancels his or her auto-ship? Distributors are often so focused on building their businesses that they neglect to do the things that keep customers engaged. When they lose a customer, they wonder, “What happened?”

The trick to customer retention is to recognize the level of involvement each one prefers.

In The Four Year Career, Richard Brooke outlines the growth phases most network marketers go through:

  1. They become a loyal customer and a product of the product.
  2. They naturally share their story with family and friends.
  3. They share the business model with those who are interested.

Most distributors start out as customers. All distributors must be on auto-ship and a product of the product before they can recruit others.

To have a successful organization, you need customers at all three levels. The key to creating customer loyalty is supporting each person right where they are. To give them impeccable service, you must first identify the level at which they want to be involved. Build a great relationship, but always respect the person’s right to choose what next step, if any, is right for her.

Here is how I treat each level:

  1. The Loyal Customer. If your company’s product delivers a benefit people truly want and need, you can build customer loyalty with impeccable customer service and a sense of community.Check in with new customers to make sure their order arrived on time. Tell them how to use the product for best results. Make them so happy they will naturally share with friends and family. But don’t be attached to that outcome. Some customers never want to talk about their experience; they just want to consume. Celebrate their loyalty and let them be.
  2. The Natural. Although we value those who simply buy products, the network marketing model works when we refer people. Happy customers who share their experiences with family and friends may become open to the possibility of covering the cost of their own products, for instance through a “Tell Three, Get Yours Free” program. Once customers see their check growing, they may convert themselves into business builders.
  3. The Business Builder. If you’re enrolling only “loyal customers,” then you’re building your business all by yourself, which is excruciatingly slow. I intend to build a big enterprise, so I look for both loyal customers and business builders who will help me find more loyal customers.

Always start with your prospect’s needs. Do they need your product? Then lead with that. Do they need more income? Lead with the business.

There’s no “correct” order to do it. Your builders will find customers. Customers will become and/or find your builders. Nurture each one with the best service you can give. To build a successful organization, welcome everyone!

LOREN ROBIN is a top-producing network marketing leader. Having overcome many adversities in her personal and professional life, she excels at helping other women develop the strength and perseverance needed to accomplish their biggest goals.