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May 2007

Are You Cultivating Loyalists?

I was recently asked by a young professional – “What is the secret to success in the business world?” Without hesitation I told her – “Cultivate a network of loyalists.” And, she replied “What is a loyalist? It sounds like a Revolutionary War politician!”

A loyalist is someone who knows you, respects you and “loves” you in that order. A loyalist is someone who has an unswerving allegiance to you, likes working with and hanging out with you because of your expertise, perspectives or just for the relationship. A loyalist refers people to you; wants you to be successful. It's someone who talks about you and your achievements proudly; who promotes you; and who covers your back (if necessary). Who wouldn't want a network of loyalists as you build your career?

Do you just have customers or do you have client loyalists? Do you just have colleagues at work or do you have a team of loyalists? Do you just have friends or do you have a band of loyalists?

If having a network of loyalists is so critical for success, how do you develop a loyalist relationship? The simple answer lies in one of the 10 Commandments: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” If you want to develop a network of loyalists you've got to nurture and cultivate those relationships.

So here's what I advised the young woman:

• Acknowledge, first, that every colleague, client or friend won't want to become one of your loyalists no matter what you do – so having a laundry list of loyalists is not possible, nor even desirable.

• Understand that a loyalist relationship is not a one-way decision – it needs to be mutually beneficial and rewarding for both people if it's going to be sustained. You can't always know, until you spend time with someone, whether you both want to make the commitment required to cultivate the relationship.

• A loyalist relationship is based on mutual respect, concern for each other's goals and successes (and failures), a willingness to invest in each other (with time, advice, help, etc.). There is no denying that cultivating these types of relationships does take an investment, but for those of us who are blessed with a network of loyalists, the payoff is incredibly rewarding!

Tips & Tools For Cultivating Loyalist Relationships

• Understand the other person's hopes and fears
• Be interested in the other's significant people and events
• Act authentically and responsibly
• Have the other's best interests at heart
• Offer perspectives, advice, resources, as requested or needed
• Spend quality time with him/her
• Reach out – first!

"On the platform, Lynda is energetic and highly credible. This combination creates a motivated and engaged audience. Our participants' comments were highly favorable on the depth of your subject matter expertise and your ability to engage them on a variety of challenging and complex issues."

Stephen J. Kontra, Director,
Leadership Education
and Development
Pfizer, Inc.


The Courage to Sell Your Difference!Do you have a calling card or just a business card? Are you just serving your clients and customers or are you cultivating loyalists? Do you just show up every day at work or are you trying to make a real difference as a trusted advisor? In this stirring presentation, Lynda speaks to the hearts of people who make their living from selling products and service to others. Anyone who sells knows that it is a job that has exhilarating highs and soul-wrenching lows. Lynda helps her audience to find their unique ability that will help them differentiate themselves from the competition, develop trusting relationships with their clients and customers, and motivate them to courageously take the steps necessary for personal growth and professional success!

Lynda McDermott

Lynda is honored to be one of over 570
Certified Speaking Professionals
in the United States

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