Building relationships is part of any business. Whether you are in business for yourself, represent a sales department or have an internal peer group. Your ability to cultivate long term relationships with your customers,both internal and external customers, is essential to your success.
Here are five strategies that keep your customers coming back for more.
*Over Promise and Over Deliver. Happy customers are more likely to remain happy if you are solving their problems and are going beyond the expected. I know the saying is “under promise and over deliver” , meaning don’t set high expectations with your customers so when you do deliver you look exceptional. I believe in Over Promising and Over Delivering. Make commitments that drive you and your team to do more than the expected. Raise the bar and deliver each time!
*Create value adds. Offering too many discounts or going back and negotiating down your price can cheapen your business and move your services into a commodity position. So instead of consistently discounting or reducing your prices, going the extra mile and offering “value adds” not only goes along way to create additional value, but provides you a place to negotiate if needed. For example, if you sell technology, perhaps create a special package that includes custom reports, or a bonus whitepaper that would interest your users.
*Follow up with your customers, often. Building relationships is about communication. Speak to your customers often. Follow up after you deliver a service or deliver that killer sales presentation. Check in once in a while and make sure they are happy with your service and learn what you can do to make it even more worthwhile for them to do business with you. Never assume you are doing enough and make sure that you are connecting in person versus email communications.
*Learn about your customers. Know the individuals who are giving you business. Take the time to explore who they are and what is important to them and find ways to support those interest. Business is conducted by people and sometimes we forget this simple point and we don’t share in the ways that truly build solid friendships.
*Show your customers appreciation. Your customers should not be treated like the general population. They should have a different set of communications specifically tailored towards them. I even go one step further and personally tailor each communication to the specific person I am reaching out to. Give them first glance at new programs or offering and don’t forget to thank them often.