How Strong is the Relationship?
While it would be reasonable to argue that most businesses depend on people, internet marketing companies are often made or broken by their ability to manage people both inside and outside the company.
The dynamics between internet marketing companies and their customers and independent business owners (IBOs) is completely based on the quality of the relationship. Failure to maintain a positive relationship with IBOs can result is significant setbacks for even the most mature of internet marketing companies and the loss of a significant amount of revenue.
Maintaining a positive relationship with IBOs requires constant work and great attention. It might be easy at first. The IBO has just joined your business. They joined because they found something they liked—the products, the management, the compensation plan, or all three. They like the business.
Keeping that enthusiasm is the challenge. Lots of things can get in the way, but there are a few that are certain to be enthusiasm killers and may ultimately result in the loss of an IBO.
The first is difficulty resolving problems. There can certainly be lots of problems. Shipments arrive late or with the wrong products, a customer has some kind of problem with a product, difficulty getting refunds, or any other number of logistics problems. If an IBO cannot get resolution of the problem, a great deal of frustration can ensue.
Companies need excellent people working their phones. IBOs should be able to reach someone in customer service at any time and get resolution to their problem. The answers to common problems should be available through the company website. The most important thing is that the problem should be able to be resolved in no more than one phone call! If the person you call can’t resolve the problem, they should be able to get back to you within 24 hours with an answer.
Communication problems can also be problematic. If the company makes changes but does not communicate those changes to their IBOs, difficulties can arise. Maybe they send an email about a change but don’t make the change in their website. Maybe they have promised to make a change by a certain date, are unable to make the change as promised, but do not communicate this fact to their IBOs. This leaves the IBO working with faulty information and can result is everything from anger to fatal difficulties with a downline.
Lack of recognition also plays a role in whether an IBO will stay with a company or not. We all like to feel appreciated. Companies that do not recognize the accomplishments of their IBOs run the risk of the IBOs becoming discouraged. Publishing top earners, recognizing growth with a letter or small prize, etc. all go a long way to keeping IBOs with your company. Companies must be careful to be extremely accurate with their recognition. Leaving someone off the list can be a serious mistake and even result in the loss of an IBO.
Of all the things that a company can do to damage the relationship with their IBOs, perhaps none is more lethal than difficulties with money. Problems in this area can take make forms. One is that commissions are not paid promptly. Another is that the amount expected does not match the amount received. A lack of understanding of the compensation plan is another. Policies that unfairly financially favor the company (or have that appearance) can be another problem. No matter how much an IBO likes a company and/or its products, people are in business to make money. If they aren’t making money they think they should be, they will leave.
As the saying goes “it takes years to build up trust, only seconds to destroy it.” Maintaining a healthy, trusting relationship with IBOs can do more to strengthen a company than any other aspect of their business.