Inner Robot self-destructing in 3…2….1….
Humans are relationship creatures – we care about communicating with each other (even when we don’t want to), and we observe this in practically every aspect of human endeavor. Relationships influence our personalities, values, beliefs, and almost every aspect of our interpersonal relationships. Do you want to be successful in life? Well, success in any endeavor in life is pretty much built on relationships because humans are emotional and can be sentimental. Our links to one another are powerful and can be leveraged by our businesses and employers to generate significant profit. Believe it or not, you may have been hired simply because of who you know – for the company’s benefit or your own. One single connection can drive a brand viral. As simple as it sounds, building solid relationships and maintaining those relationships is a tactic that can transform an entire business’s trajectory, long or short term.
Maybe, social media and handheld devices gave proof to a communication addiction that has lied inside of us all along. We look for new relationships to influence who we are, and help us shift our personalities or at least, our reactions to others’ personalities. Sometimes these relationships can impact our values and beliefs, or almost every aspect of our interpersonal relationships. The people around you can drive you away from a product or idea, or straight towards it.
There’s some scientific proof to how your foundational relationships teach you to resource build and connect to others. Warm connections are powerful and can be leveraged by a business entity to generate significant profit. One single founder connection can set a brand down a virialized path. As simple as it sounds, building solid relationships and maintaining those relationships is a tactic that can transform your entire business’s trajectory, long or short term.
Put down the pitch deck and back away from the stranger.
Developing a cordial relationship with a prospective customer or investor is necessary before your pitch to them. Making your first contact a pitch is not usually a good idea. Since sales is a form of relationship building, it involves crafting a strategy and taking the time to get to know your buyer before you jump into bed together. We’re not robots – you can’t just push a button and expect an outcome. Sure, it’s easy to see an investor or relationship is absolutely like getting into a prenuptial agreement and that it’s intricate and outcome based. But doesn’t a client relationship also have responsibilities you need to fulfill on or the relationship ends? You need to cultivate and nurture customer relationships – loyal buyers create loyal buyers. Some products and services don’t require a lot of time to build a relationship before the sale, but because the transaction happens quickly, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen again. Sometimes it’s quality related that has a customer come back, or it’s price, maybe it’s word of mouth, or it could be all of those aspects and more The key to a successful sales department’s long term growth is consistency.
- Customer Loyalty: Offering quality products and services improves the chances of success of a business entity but that’s not the only thing you need to be successful. Humans are inherently emotional beings and they are prone to making decisions based on emotions rather than logic. We think with our hearts, not our minds – we just do. That’s why we’ll swerve our car into a ditch to avoid hitting a turtle (Wait, no one else has done that? Oh…) We’re loyal to ideas and people that help us discover something about ourselves that we like. We’re inspired because we see something about that brand, product, or person in ourselves, Attachment to anything is built not because you’re superior to competitors in one area, but because you are working to connect to your clients in all areas. When you focus on your customer and not your competitor, the market takes notice.
- Customer experience: One significant difference between humans and robots is that humans are conscious. They can observe and know when you’re full of something…inauthentic. Be detailed in your marketing campaigns and in planning your buyer personas. Love and brand attachment develop the same way because despite our flaws, we as humans can still connect based on a made up affection. Seriously: think about it. You can like a brand just because someone else in your life likes a brand. You can buy something because you like a tv commercial. Our affections are crazy and totally unreliable, but just because you can entice a customer into trying something, you need to keep their attention by listening to them. Customer surveys, feedback forms, engagement events: these are all absolutely necessary to build genuine friendships between salesperson and client, The key is not just saying that you want to know your customer, but putting processes in place that gather customer feedback for you, making it easier for your products and services to reflect what your customers actually want.
- Return on Investment (aka ROI): This is difference between the net profit and the cost of investment; said another way, the difference between what your bottom line takeaway is and the cost of the entire customer process. To make money, you’ve gotta spend money – but how just much? Knowing what your entire sales process costs can help you improve it, incentivize your salespeople, and take your outcomes up a notch. Make sure you budget for the tools you need to keep track of your expenses (we recommend Quickbooks) and that you encourage your sales team to give you feedback on their customer interactions. Sure, your product may be the best in the industry, but it means nothing without a connection to your target customers. You’re paying a sales team to develop that connection, so empower them to document what it takes. After all, if you didn’t document it, it didn’t happen.
How to build and maintain positive relationships with clients
Here are some ways to generate and keep healthy relationships:
- Yep, the dreaded “try to keep a positive attitude” adage: Look, we all know that it’s easy to say “be positive” and another thing to actually be positive. It takes work – it takes you telling that nasty voice in your head to shut up when it gets really, really loud, even when it may be right.
When the world is exploding (literally or figuratively) around you, pick up your bible, meditate, read a book, take a walk or do whatever it takes to clear your mind so that you can refocus on what’s important to you and what you’re working for.
- Respect: Treat all your customers as you’d want to be treated. It’s really that simple. If you wouldn’t want to be the victim of a disorganized process or systemic racism, build structures inside your organization to address those things – it’s your responsibility as a business owner and someone who is out to create inclusivity for their idea. Create a training program for your employees that addresses upset or confused customers and focus on the empathy. Passive discrimination can absolutely cripple your brand; the passive buyer sees passive discrimination as aggression and won’t just not return, those are the people who leave bad reviews and convince others to go elsewhere. Are there Karen’s? Yes. There are Karen’s everywhere.
We’re living in a time where anyone can leave a less than a desirable review, and the last thing that you as a business owner want is your brand trashed online or in your community because someone in your organization didn’t know how to deal with an upset customer.
- Exceed Expectations: In relating to clients, don’t exaggerate your services or the quality of your product. Instead, aim towards exceeding the expectation of the clients. Sometimes salespeople can be dynamic storytellers and take customers through a thought process that is unrealistic, so making sure that your salespeople are trained thoroughly on the outcomes of your product is important, This means you’ll have to get really honest with yourself about what your firm can actually do, and what your people are capable of. Taking on jobs or promising product outcomes that you can’t handle or fulfill upon will not end well for you long term.
- Quick response: You should have a 24 hour or less turnaround time for client inquiries. Period. There’s not a whole lot else to say about this – do not make customers wait. Spoiler alert: they won’t. They’ll go somewhere else. A quick response is an integral part of the relationship-building process. It reflects the value and a sense of importance. You might adopt auto-responders to facilitate the quick receipt of customer emails and ensure that issues are resolved in the shortest possible timeframe. Short communication time frames help to retain trust and confidence of your client. Chatbots are another way to keep your clients instantly engaged with if you’re unavailable or eager to answer client questions right away.
- Timely information: Treating the client as a stakeholder is one of the ways to build rapport with them. Inform them about your activities. Don’t have a newsletter or social media page? Get one and a marketing plan to go along with it. Use your newsletter to keep them in the loop about your products and services and how it would benefit them. Personalize emails, and include their name or names rather than just copying and pasting the same information to everyone. (Don’t forget to put the right name in) Just remember not to be a Sir Spam-a-lot – it is recommended that the emails be spaced apart by at least three days to avoid being a nuisance to the client (unless you ask for permission to send more).
The bottom line is there is no short cut or alternative to building authentic relationships with your potential clients. You can grow your business quickly by being sincere, tailored to their specific needs, and willing to take a beating in the market. Afterall, that’s what our grandparents did (but they did it door to door and on concrete).
You want to be successful in warm outreach, then you’ll need to lay out the guiding principles of your brand: your mission, why you are intent on creating loyal customers, and how or why you want to make an impact. Creating buyer personas, mapping your brand loyalty principles, and your customers loyalty attractions can be like rocket fuel for your product launch. Build a list of prospective clients and always keep them pre-informed of your activities. Communicate with potential clients so they sense their value to you. When it seems like nearly everything in the market is out there specifically to test your business’s strength (including a pandemic), your work in building and maintaining relationships with your existing and prospective clients is the best way to thrive.
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