We have written before about becoming an expert and leveraging your expertise to build your brand. We have learned (the hard way) that it is critically important to stick to what you do best. A jack of all trades won’t catapult you to the top of any list. These lessons came from several perspectives: as service providers, as consultants and as customers.

We’re focusing this week on customer loyalty and this piece of the puzzle is a crucial one to ensuring that you delight your customers and that they refer you to other potential clients.

It is important to correctly represent your skill sets and to be frank when something is outside your realm of expertise. If this means losing a potential client, that is much better than sullying your reputation after delivering sub par results.

Word of mouth is incredibly powerful. You’ve probably asked friends or colleagues to help you find everything from a good mechanic to where to find the best bagel in town (or maybe that’s just me). Build a strong network of colleagues that you can refer people to when a project comes along that would be best suited for someone else. Over time, you may find that referrals flow both ways. Now, you’ve got happy customers, and a nice mechanism for finding good clients and trusted resources. Through our professional network, we’ve found great graphic designers, accountants, attorneys, printers, packaging suppliers, copywriters and dog walkers. So, get out there and start getting to know people who are really great at the things that you’re not.