The initial goal of any good business person when they see a random person walk in their door is to turn that browser into a customer. This initial purchase can occur by having a good solution for a client need and by offering that packaged with excellent service at a fair and reasonable price. Once the purchase is made Step 1 has been achieved. Then they want to turn that customer into a client. Technically the words customer and client are interchangeable but I define a client as someone who makes regular purchases from a business rather than just a one-off or sporadic purchase the way a customer may. So for the moment we will say that securing that person as a client is Step 2. That is usually achieved by following up the initial excellent service and good product with more of the same. Customers find it easier to return to the same place of business and provided you don’t give someone a good reason to go elsewhere, they typically won’t. Step 1 is a challenge and Step 2 involves consistency. Then it becomes a bit harder. Step 3 is resilience. If you have a resilient client, you have a client that will reject offers from alternative suppliers – even if they seem superior at face value. A client at Step 3 is now a loyal client. They have experienced the great service and the consistency in product and delivery and they want more of the same. The promises of nirvana from other suppliers also carry an element of risk. The customer at Step 3 also feels comfortable knowing that the supplier understands them and their needs.

The ultimate goal is to move a loyal client to Step 4. Step 4 is … trumpets blaring please … the advocate (with some gravitas in the voice please). When you manage to move a loyal client to the next higher state of existence, they are at the advocate stage. Not only are they a loyal client and reject all other offers before them, they start doing the selling for you. I am sure you have come across an advocate. You will be a BBQ and someone will be telling you about a new watch/TV/car/phone/whatever that they bought from a certain business and they delivered excellent service etc. The advocate isn’t on commission. The advocate expects no reward from the business for ‘selling’ its services. The advocate is simply relaying information to their friends about a certain business. It is human nature to advocate for things that a person ‘loves’ – people become advocates because we are all wired to connect with other people and build social capital. It has taken some time of consistent excellent service with great products and good prices for this person to achieve Step 4 but once they are there, they can be very powerful. In fact, much more powerful than any paid marketing program.

Maybe it is about now – or a few sentences previous – that you started wondering where I was heading.

Cities go through a similar cycle. We try and attract people to our city as tourists and new residents. Almost every new resident is a tourist at some stage – even if the purpose of their visit is to look at a city before a move is made. Being a tourist is therefore Step 1. Making the move to a city is like becoming a client. Call that Step 2. Step 3 is keeping people in a city when there may be opportunities for them to move to another city. A job offer may come up or some family or friends may encourage a person to move to another city. Rejection of other offers to remain in a city has a person at Step 3.

Again the ultimate is to have a person ‘selling’ the city they live in. Encouraging other people to move to their city and extolling a city’s virtues has a person at Step 4.

The idea for this column was as a result of a plane trip I was on last Sunday. I sat in my seat and pulled my computer out to answer some e-mails. A person sat behind me and he started chatting to the person beside him. She was considering her future and for the entire plane trip I heard the sweet sounds of this gentleman telling a young lady all the reasons she should move to Dubbo. As you can imagine it was music to my ears. He didn’t know the Mayor was sitting in front of him – he was just so proud of his city that he wanted to tell the world about it. This isn’t the only example I have seen of this but I am seeing it more regularly now than ever before. When you consider our last Community Need Survey said that 93 per cent of people who live in Dubbo are proud to live in Dubbo you can imagine that there are many other people out there who are doing exactly the same thing on a regular basis. And there is no doubt that not only does it help a population grow it makes for a wonderful community to be a part of when people are proud of where they live and are happy to tell the world.

Tell me if you are an advocate for Dubbo at

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