Secrets you should share to delight customers and win their loyalty

customer loyalty

The year was 2008 and all kinds of businesses were sinking in the quicksand of the Great Recession.

When that economic hell broke loose, Marcus Sheridan was seven years into running his own swimming pool company. Business was drying up and the trickle of leads he got from advertising was not enough.

Sheridan was desperate. He figured he needed to generate exponentially more leads than ever before, but he couldn’t afford to pay for marketing. What could he do?

Sheridan started blogging, but he didn’t write about the benefits of owning a swimming pool. He didn’t share tame little tips about swimming pool care. No, he did something crazy: He gave away his industry’s secrets.

Sheridan imagined being a customer. What would a customer really want to know? What did customers think Sheridan and people like him might be hiding? What were some of the secrets that people like Sheridan tried to keep from their customers for whatever reason? The answers to questions like these became the material for Sheridan’s blog.

The blog–and Sheridan’s business–took off. Today, Sheridan’s blog is the #1 pool company website in the world and business is booming.

Why did Sheridan’s blog about the swimming pool business make such a splash with customers?

Whether it’s swimming pools or cars, American consumers seem to have a natural distrust for people in sales. Their suspicions are especially strong when it comes to expensive items that are fairly complicated. The average buyer knows next to nothing about swimming pools and very little about cars (other than how to drive one). What is to keep a total stranger from selling her more than she really needs? Buyers who are afraid of getting ripped off don’t just feel bad about the salesperson; they feel bad about the buying experience, the product, and themselves.

This is not a recipe for eager buyers, premium contracts, referrals, and repeat business.

Sheridan’s blog was such a hit with customers because it spoke straight to the anxiety they felt as buyers. By publicly answering any question and by giving up his industry’s secrets, Sheridan built enormous confidence, goodwill, rapport, and trust. Customers rewarded him by choosing to do business with him first.

What about your customers? They don’t know what they don’t know. That anxiety and the suspicion that comes from it makes them want to spend as little money and time with you as they can.

How does that help your bottom line?

As Sheridan’s blog proves, customer anxiety is your golden opportunity.

If you answer the questions that customers really want to ask, you will build the same kind of confidence, goodwill, and trust that filled Sheridan’s “pool” with customers and profits.

In order to be like Sheridan, however, you have to answer the questions before customers ask them. Remember: If the customer has to ask, she is unlikely to believe your answer anyway. The secret is to anticipate what customers want to know and answer their questions before they ask them.

Here are three kinds of “secrets” your customers may want to know. Honestly and openly reveal these secrets, and you will begin to build customer loyalty and trust. You may even turn mere customers into fans.

  1. How you sell. Anyone can go online to find dozens of guides on how to haggle with a car salesperson. What if you published your sales manual and sales training for all to see? Imagine customers knowing before they come to your dealership exactly what your salespeople are doing and why. This removes all the nasty little scenarios the customer is dreaming up every time one of your salespersons says he has to “go talk to my manager.”

  2. How you make money and how you pay your people. Nobody is against your dealership making a profit. Nobody is against your salespeople earning a decent salary. The truth is, most people seem to suspect that car dealerships are trying to line their pockets by taking more than they should. The antidote is to simply share your business model with customers. Tell them how you make your money. Tell them how you set your markups and pricing on services. Tell them how you pay your sales team. Most of all, tell them why all of this is important to you. Your employees support their families. You invest in the community. You want to motivate your sales team.

  3. How to use the dealership (or not use the dealership) to take care of their cars. Do you really need to change your oil every 3,000 miles? That’s what the dealership and 10-minute oil change places say. But whose dad hasn’t told them that 5,000 miles is OK? If people believe you will only sell them what is necessary, they may bring theirs cars in for service more often. So give them the “cheat codes” if you have any and let them make up their own minds. One choice they are likely to make is to give you more business.


These are just three ideas. The most important secrets to share are the ones that your customers tell you they want to know. Make sure that asking, listening, and responding is built into the culture of every customer interaction at your dealership. Be consistently honest and open with customers and they will reward you.