In today’s fast paced world, speed is our number one concern. We want magic to happen with a quick text, a simple tweet, or a series of posts we have autoscheduled throughout the week. We rely on technology so much that in many cases we forget the one thing that can build our success more than anything … our relationships.
If you’re still climbing the ladder of success, if you still want to bring in new clients to build your business, stop worrying about what you’ll say in your next Facebook post until you put a plan into place to strengthen and maintain solid relationships.
Start with a system
Relationships take work. And unfortunately most businesses lose massive amounts of potential sales because they don’t build a solid system that benefits their customers. What are the touch points where you connect with people that come into contact with your business? Do you have a process in place to reach out at every point? Spend some time planning out the perfect way to connect with people throughout the process. For instance, a brand new prospect who found you online may be a perfect candidate for a free white paper, followed by a series of emails to back up your message. A client who is finished with the sales process may benefit from a monthly newsletter to learn more about other services you offer. If you create a plan first, you can easily determine the best places to connect, and work at making each connection a meaningful experience for the people that choose to do business with you.
Make people feel special
When the world moves as quickly as it does, it’s hard not to feel like a number with some of the people you do business with. But that “take a number, wait in line, and hurry up with your request because of the long line” attitude will never win points with a customer. We may put up with this process when it’s time to renew our drivers licenses, but it’s the last thing we want when we choose to do business with more personalized services. How do you go out of your way to show you care? Listening can be the first step in building great relationships. People often feel rushed; connecting with someone who truly hears what they have to say can be a welcome relief. But take it a step further. How can you build up customer service to build a stronger bond between the two of you? A thank you note, a special gift, even a surprise phone call can go a long way in showing you care. Don’t stop with the obvious; stretch outside of the box and do extraordinary things that will leave your customers loving everything about you.
Put the focus on them
It’s easy to fill a potential customers head with all the things you do. And the longer you’ve been in business, the more stories you’ll have to share about all that you can do. Remember, potential customers don’t care about others; they care about their own needs and how you can help them. Yes, stories can go a long way in helping people see what you can do. But once you connect on a more personal level, make it all about them. Familiarize yourself with who they are. Spend time with their products or services and get to know what makes them tick. The more you learn about them, the more you can listen and offer advice that will truly help them improve what they do. Don’t be afraid to add value to their lives before they lay down the credit card for the first time; proving your worth before the transaction will make you that much more valuable to do business with.
Don’t forget to love everyone
Unfortunately even the best businesses will occasionally have a customer that is less than thrilled with the service. With every effort you’ve made to build a strong and healthy relationship, something just isn’t right. They are unhappy. That’s okay, it happens to every business once in a while. But don’t ignore the situation and assume it will go away. While you can part ways and realize your business isn’t for everyone, do everything you can to make the experience as good as it can possibly get. By spending a little extra time correcting a wrong, you may turn an unhappy customer back into a neutral one that won’t leave negative reviews or spread bad press about what you do.
The more care you put into your relationship building process, the more your customers will come to value what you have to offer. The message you create will shine through in your marketing, your sales process … and the way you post to your Facebook account. Building solid relationships is a full time process. But if you’re in business for the long term, it’s the most important part of doing business.