How to Show Customers That They Come First

by Michelle Salater on March 16, 2011


We recently had the pleasure of interviewing the inventor of the Escalator Marketing™ model, Sandra Martini, on effective customer retention strategies. This interview is a part of our Customer Retention Strategy series, where we focus on business owners who use effective customer retention strategies.

See below for this exclusive interview:

1. Tell us a little bit about Escalator Marketing™ and what inspired you to start this business.

Escalator Marketing™ is a revolutionary concept in marketing. Based on Extreme Client Care™ components, Escalator Marketing™ does away with the traditional marketing funnels and pyramids.

Draw or visualize a marketing funnel—wide at the top, pointy-narrow at the bottom. The concept is that lots of people go in (I think of them as falling in) and very few come out the bottom where your higher level programs are. Truthfully, funnels remind me of meat grinders. Funnels make me think of hard-core marketers—those in it primarily for the marketing and the money.

Now let’s draw or visualize a marketing pyramid. The exact inverse of the funnel—it’s pointy-narrow at the top and wide at the bottom. The concept here is that lots of people start at the bottom and climb their way to the top where only a few, exclusive members get access to the person hosting the programs, and usually for a significant fee—again, not a warm, welcoming feeling for clients.

And then there’s the escalator—it’s essentially a moving staircase where your clients can choose to walk, run, or stand, always being supported by you in their efforts. There’s the energy of movement and it’s designed to have a greater impact than either the funnel or pyramid as its purpose is to support (or impact, if you will) a greater number of clients. And the system just keeps supporting as everyone receives the same, consistent experience and can continue to invest in your business as they move from one level to the next.

I was inspired to create this model seeing how the marketing funnel and pyramid models just don’t work for clients—they’re too business-owner focused. In reality, focusing on our clients is what makes for a successful business.

Escalator Marketing™ does this by creating a path of growth for clients.

Your customer retention strategy, Extreme Client Care™, sounds amazing! Tell us a little bit about this customer loyalty program and how customers benefit.

Extreme Client Care™ is a simple concept of treating clients one “step” better than they want to be treated—it’s about knowing what they want before they themselves know it and then providing it.

By practicing Extreme Client Care™, in conjunction with having a business, based on the Escalator Marketing model (where you have different levels so your clients can grow and continue investing with you), you’ve set the stage for repeat clients who become raving fans.

From sending handwritten cards and surprise gifts to really listening to them and then creating programs, products, and services which answer their complaints / resolve their issues, Extreme Client Care™ is about acknowledging, accepting, and embracing that the client comes first. Period.

What results have you seen from implementing the Extreme Client Care™ program?

The results from practicing Extreme Client Care™—it’s less a program than it is a way of life in my business—include a 92% client retention rate for clients staying at least one year (and with no commitment contract) and having monthly recurring programs averaging at $675 / month consistently full with no marketing (all word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied clients). I’ve also been asked to guest speak on teleseminars and live workshops to discuss Extreme Client Care™ and how any business, regardless of industry, can implement it for their clients and customers.

What online marketing channels do you use to promote your business and customer loyalty programs?

My belief is that marketing is all about education. Educating prospective clients about what we do and what we offer. I use social media (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), email marketing (weekly ezine plus solo emails), free teleseminars for the public, speaking at virtual events (Telesummits and virtual workshops), webcasts, webinars, article marketing, video marketing, my website, and blogging as means to educate.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I have a simple belief: “Ordinary things, done consistently, create extraordinary AND consistent results.” This has served me well during my previous corporate life and most definitely as an entrepreneur.

About Sandra Martini:

Sandra Martini brings her years of hands-on business and marketing experience to help passionate, yet struggling, small business owners realize their dreams of creating a business which supports their desired lifestyle.

With her signature tell-it-like-it-is-nurturing style, energy and exceptional mentoring and teaching skills, Sandy is without question the resource for serious business owners.

By meeting clients where they’re at, Sandy has an amazing ability to look at your business, see the quickest path to where you want to go, and then get you there through hands-on, know-your-business mentoring.

Known for her ability to teach clients how to create multiple streams of leveraged income through the tenets of Escalator Marketing™, Sandra works with entrepreneurs in a variety of industries — from coaches and holistic practitioners to accountants and authors – teaching and using her Escalator Marketing™ model.

Sandra is the publisher of The Martini Advantage—a free weekly email newsletter designed to teach small business owners how to create marketing systems and better leverage themselves in order to reach their business and life goals. And Behind The Curtain—a client-only newsletter is where Sandy shares the behind the scenes of her business in order to move clients further, faster.

She is the founder of Escalator Marketing™ and author of the forthcoming print book Escalator Marketing™: Create The Business of Your Dreams Without Losing Yourself. Sandra is also a contributing author of Power and Soul: 42 Successful Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets for Creating the Business and Life of Your Dreams (April 2007), and her articles are regularly featured on thousands of blogs and sites across the Web.

Visit Sandra’s website and blog.

If you like this post, you might also like:

  1. How to Lose a Client in 7 Days
  2. How to Get Prospects & Customers to Take Your Survey
  • Lee

    I really love this concept. Thank you so much for posting this interview.

  • webcopywriter

    Lee, glad you found it helpful! Make sure to check out our other guest interviews.

  • Sandra Martini

    Hi Lee,

    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

    Extreme Client Care and ensuring that our customers and clients have the best experience possible is the simplest path to high client retention and word of mouth marketing.

    And high client retention, combined with decreased marketing costs naturally leads to higher profits and a more successful business overall.

    It’s a great cycle which starts with simply taking care of our clients and customers.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

    With abundance,


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