When it comes to business and sales, building a strong relationship is critical. The stronger your relationship is with your customer, the more likely they will refer others to your business.
Every day we have an opportunity to connect on a human level with our customers. We live in an age where efficiency is the byword. Our communication boils down to a text message, a quick email or a telephone message. Human contact is put on the back burner. So how do we keep the human contact with our customers alive in today’s fast paced marketplace?
The last thing you want to do is make your customers feel like a statistic.
When given the chance show them that their business is appreciated. Talk to them, strike up a non-business conversation with them. It could involve just about anything, such as the weather, sports, a movie, and pets. This doesn’t need to be a long conversation. You can make it ‘short and sweet’ as they say. The key here is that you are making a human connection and not acting like a robot.
Non-business conversation puts your customer at ease and gets them talking. The more they talk to you, the more they will open up to you. This gives you a bit of a window into their lives allowing you to understand them better. The end result may be an opportunity for you to make more sales. My cautionary point here is for you to be genuine and not seen as manipulative. Customers seek genuine interactions and they can see through manipulative communications.
Keep your conversations simple. For starters, get to know your customers by name, then address them by name. Say things such as, “how’s it going today Bill?” Or “how was your weekend Wendy?” Or “is there anything I can help you with today George?” Make your presence known and felt.
You can use the same tactic when communicating by email, text message or telephone message. Use your customer’s name. Their name is important and is tied to their identify.
Your customer wants to feel appreciated, so take a few minutes of your time to show them that you care about them as a person.
Another way to strengthen your relationship with your customer is to keep a Rolodex or digital address book handy with a list of all of your customers birthdays, anniversaries, and special events. Keep your eyes and ears open for when customers talk about upcoming events in their lives. Such as children’s birthdays and graduations.
When the appropriate date approaches, send your customer a card, whether it is a holiday card, a birthday card, a graduation card, or a congratulatory card. Just send it.
Your customers will appreciate the fact that you remembered them on their special day. This will only strengthen the relationship you already have with them.
By the way personal cards, via snail mail, is appreciated a lot more by the elderly than emails. This is an important factor once you recognize that the elderly population comprises over ten percent of your customers and depending on the products and services of your business perhaps an even greater percentage. The elderly comprise a significant number of people, often forgotten, in the age of push button communications.
There are many reasons to build a strong relationship with your customers. I suggest two of them:
One main reason is that customers value and appreciate good customer service. They want the peace of mind of knowing that if something ever happened with their product or service, that they would have you to turn to as their go to person.
This is significant because your customer will have this in mind when your competition moves in to take them away.
And believe me, your competition will try to take them away. As long as you provide excellent customer service, you have a much greater chance that your customer will stick with you.
There is no substitute for excellent customer service.
Customer service is the most important thing to a customers, even more important than what they pay for goods or service.
The second reason building relationships are so important is because of the referral process.
A customer that is treated with respect and provided excellent customer service will most assuredly refer their family and friends to you. Why wouldn’t they?
Your most important asset is your customer, so build and strengthen the foundations you have with them. By building strong relationships, you will be building your sales.
Thank you for reading,
Richard P. Fontanie