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The One-Time Customer Mindset Demolishes Many Online Businesses

by | Nov 8, 2021 | Startups

Transactional relationships are the dumbest way to make money.

A customer can buy once, or multiple times from you. A person who never gives you a dollar is one of the best people you can ever meet in the online business world. Let me explain.

The dumbest company in the world

I recently tried to get a website built. The company sold me the dream. I fell for it like a sucker.

Halfway through they started talking about profitability. They said they couldn’t make every customer happy because they’ve got to meet minimum profit margins. So rather than try to make me a happy customer, they simply raised their quote by a lot after they already agreed on the price.

The goal of their business is to screw each individual customer for the maximum profit. They’re profit-focused like the typical corporate juggernaut. Because they rarely have happy customers it requires them to always go back out to the ridiculously competitive market for selling websites and run Facebook Ads to attract more suckers like me.

Ad-driven businesses exist because they don’t understand the magic of referrals.

Underneath the iceberg of every customer is millions of dollars

My website company saw me as a one-time transaction. Those who know my work know that I have a massive community of content creators.

Many of them have done my courses — and lots of them need, right now or later on, a good-looking website. I get asked all the time about websites.

To date I can’t suggest any good providers. Template websites don’t convert traffic into customers. Custom websites are the best option but that requires you to know a person or company that can build a good one. Most of us don’t.

Most of us get screwed because we trust an amateur based on fake testimonials with smiling imposters.

Imagine if this website company that saw me as a one-time transaction knew I was a single sale with more than 1000+ possible referrals — all with zero commissions and no Facebook Ads needed. I could fill them up for years with work. Yet they chose to focus on making $200 extra of profit rather than deliver a job they admittedly stuffed up.

See people, not dollar signs

There’s nothing that kills a business faster than treating humans like numbers. That’s why I hate too much automation in my business. When all you do is send a series of automated emails like a lazy ass, you show email subscribers you don’t care about them.

You build robo relationships, not genuine human relationships. 

That’s how most online businesses operate.The person on the other end of your marketing emails simply switches off and unsubscribes. 

Can you blame them? Nope. When you get to know people they see who you really are. That connection unlocks a form of trust. That trust leads them to refer people they know to your online business later on. I don’t say this as an amateur either.

A large number of people who buy a course from my online academy come back for a second, third, and even fourth product.

I previously worked with thousands of online businesses in my banking career. I got to see all their customer data, and I’ve never seen as many repeat customers as I have somehow managed to get in my business (not to brag).

How to unlock the magic of customers that refer

When a customer is happy they can’t stop themselves from sharing your business, name, and products with everybody they know. Think about businesses you love. It’s true isn’t it? Try these tips.


I don’t sell crap. I do loads of research. I collect data through surveys to make sure my imagination isn’t running my business. (Many online business owners live in a fantasy land.)

When it comes time to build a product I spend months to get it right. No corners are cut. Quality over quantity is the focus, even if it takes longer. I tell people what they’re going to get. I always add in more than they were promised as a nice surprise.

Look at the lifetime of a customer

One transaction might go bad. One transaction might make no money. I don’t give a sh*t. What I care about is caring. If somebody decides to part ways, I leave them better than I found them with a gift they didn’t expect.

Some of those departed customers never bought another thing. Their friends and connections did though.

Think about how many referrals are hiding under the surface

Every person that buys from you is sitting on a mountain of referrals.

Referrals cost $0 to acquire. It’s the compound interest you get paid for doing the right thing and not being a d*ck.

The trick is once you overdeliver on your promise, you have to ask for referrals. Some will flow naturally. Others will require you to extract them like mining for gold in the desert. That’s okay. Ask. Ask again. Ask “why not?”

Give free stuff away

I like to add free upgrades to paid products later on. Customers don’t expect it. I also love to make 90% of what I do free. Anybody who is on my email list will tell you how much free stuff I give away.

My motto is this: only charge money if you have to.

If I can live for the next year without asking for money then I will. The need to extract money from every person is a disease, not good business practice.


Don’t be like the website company that treated me as a one-time transaction. Not every customer of your online business will be profitable. Not every person you meet online will be your customer. Doesn’t matter.

Treat people like humans, overdeliver, give more than you take, do free (a lot), think with abundance, and for the love of god, don’t forget the hundreds of referrals hiding beneath the surface of every person you encounter.

Dumb online businesses are forced to use ads. Smart online businesses harness the power of referrals to make money while they sleep.

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