A few days ago, I had a friend ask me what I thought of her idea for an “incentive” program for her customers.

You know… the type where you purchase a certain number of appointments and get one free.  Loyalty is rewarded.

I think that’s a good model if you’re buying used CD’s or pizza slices, however it doesn’t work with service-oriented professions.

It de-values what you do when you offer something for free.

And the thing is… she is an expert consultant.  Incredibly talented and worth every penny she receives.

She deserves to be paid every single time.

If you value clients like me, just keep doing a great job for us.  We don’t need gimmicks or incentives.

And if we are an important part of your business, just a few kind words of appreciation and the occasional “thinking of you” gesture are all it takes to keep us happy.