When selling to customers it's important to think of how you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. There is nothing more important than building solid and longstanding relationships with customers.
Without having these relationships marketing, sales, automation, etc. are completely worthless. Nothing can replace treating your customer as a person instead of as a dollar amount in your budget.
The only way to win in today's competitive market is to become the epitome of friendliness, sincerity, gratitude, and hospitality. The average consumer is not simply seeking a product: they are seeking a genuine, pleasant experience.
To develop your business to meet these expectations, you'll need to evolve your emotional intelligence (EI). I found a fun quiz that helped me to better evaluate my EI skills, and to see what needs some improvement.
Here's how you can create lasting, memorable relationships with every customer, and it has nothing to do with how much you charge or what type of business you are growing.
Connection and Relationship
Regardless of your expertise, businesses thrive on meaningful connections and deep relationships. For example, in my own life I can think back to my experience working in restaurants. There were nights when all my tables were regulars who called to request a seat in my section.
That's not because I'm incredibly better at serving tables than others. The reason I had such rapport with my customers was because of my commitment to treating each person like a guest in my home or a long-time friend.
This highlights a key factor in success: people are not simply buying a product from you. They are investing in a relationship with you, because they enjoy connecting with you.
To a great extent the product or service being sold is arbitrary. There are many restaurants and many servers working in those restaurants.
However, there was only one "me" working there, and as I continued making my guests feel special, they did the same for me.
Building relationships and developing connections with others is dependent upon your ability to deliver a unique experience that brings you and your customer closer to one another with each great experience.
Positivity and Friendliness
Words matter. Conversations and interactions are the building blocks of all solid relationships. Imagine that there are two booths in the mall selling lemonade. At the first booth there's a man standing behind the counter with his arms crossed and a sour, lemon-sucking expression on his face.
At the second booth stands another man. Unlike the first, this man is standing with open body language with a welcoming smile decorating his bright face. Which of these two men do you think is selling more lemonade? It's not a hard question to answer.
People are drawn to others who make them feel welcome and wanted. Given a choice between two people, smiling individuals are rated as more attractive than people with stoic expressions.
Consider the people you enjoy being around the most, and you'll think about those who leave you feeling better after having spent time with them. It's easy to figure out which qualities enhance relationships: simply consider the characteristics you appreciate the most in others.
Integrity and Trust
Establishing trust and being honest with your customers isn't an option. No one is going to keep coming back to your business unless you are being transparent and offering trustworthy products that meet expectations.
A salesperson at the car dealership who sells a clunker to a customer is guaranteed to lose that customer in the future. Not only that, but customers who feel like their trust has been violated will angrily share the experience with their friends.
We've all seen these posts on Facebook—long rants about a restaurant, retail store, or product that did not meet expectations. _Don't let it happen to you! _ Word of mouth can be your greatest ally or your worst enemy. It's better to consistently operate with a deep commitment to integrity.
Communication and Feedback
Above any other advice I can give, having great communication skills is one of the most important aspect of creating lasting, health relationships with your customers. Of course, this applies to all of our relationships in life.
That's why it's essential to change your perspective about your customers. Begin thinking of them as if they are your closest friends or guests in your home.
Having the correct perspective will bolster your relationship with every client and ensure that they continue enjoying your product or service.
One key aspect of communication is giving and receiving honest and helpful feedback. As one of my former supervisors once told me: feedback is priceless!
Don't wait for your customers to murmur about what's going on. Instead, do regular check ins with each, asking how everything is going. This will help you better gauge your approach to your business relationships.
We no longer live in a world of customers being satisfied with call centers or long wait times, and it's important to realize that your customers want ease of access to you and your staff. Offering friendly support that meets your customer's needs is essential.
Having quick access to someone who can assist in troubleshooting or problem solving is the new expectation of the modern age. At Twin Engine Labs and CodePilot we offer this on several levels in order to better engage with our customers.
Elevation and Importance
"What's so special about your business?" When someone asks this question, how do you respond? Are there any perks or benefits to hiring your company over another? Are you going out of your way to "wow" your customers?
If not, then you should. Experienced and successful business owners know a secret: if you want to maintain customer loyalty make your customers feel special!
It's not enough to simply offer a product or service and exchange funds. This is a relationship after all! Your spouse or significant other wouldn't be likely to forget if you missed their birthday, and neither will your customers.
People who you consider important will know it, because you'll expend time and energy to ensure that you don't go unnoticed. It's worth it.
We live in a world of rewards. Each customer should feel like they matter to you beyond the money they pay, whether recurring or one-time.
Pamper your clients by sending them birthday cards and gift cards, or allow them to earn rewards for being loyal. If you really want to make them love you: do both!
You are likely competing with hundreds, if not thousands, of other businesses in your market. The only way to stand out from the crowd is to offer something extraordinary, something special. Elevate your customers in your mind, and they will elevate you in their minds.
So, besides the aforementioned tips for creating great relationships with your customers, here are a few ideas for making them feel extra special.
Use some of these ideas, or come up with your own, and you'll be sure to have a solid, loyal customer base who will eagerly spread the good news about your business.
The best type of advertisement is free advertisement, and people are more likely to hire or buy from a brand or company when it was recommended to them by a friend.
Handwritten Cards and Notes
Nothing is better than getting a handwritten card from someone expressing their gratitude or congratulating you on a special occasion.
Even if you don't have time to personally write hundreds of letters, there are services who prepare notes, cards, and postcards with handwritten fonts.
Alternatively, you can download this cool app that lets you write the notes using your smartphone or tablet for around the cost of a nice Hallmark card!
You can even include your signature to add to any documents you send. This gives your business a special touch, and you'll be remembered for being considerate and thoughtful.
Each quarter, send a gift basket or edible arrangement to your customers, letting them know how much you appreciate them.
This is a great way to maintain loyal customers, and it will guarantee a positive reaction. Who doesn't like receiving gifts?
In Louisiana we have a special word for "a little something extra," lagniappe (pronounced lan-yap). Giving your customers even just a little bit more than what they're paying for is guaranteed to keep them connected and grateful for your relationship.
A great way to institute giving extras to customers is to find useful tools at either low or no cost to you and incorporate them into your standard processes.
If you start going above and beyond the expectations of customers, you won't have to worry about them leaving you for another company—even if the other company has lower prices.
Many of the tasks listed in the previous section can be automated. Using automation takes a lot of work out of maintaining business relationships, but remember to continue providing a personal touch. No one wants to feel as if they are only communicating with a robot.
Services that send handwritten cards often have an API that allows you to integrate with your other services or platform. Consider connecting the ones you can.
If you need help with the process, the team at CodePilot can take care of this for you. In addition, CodePilot creates custom connectors for services and platforms that don't offer friendly integrations or easy API's.
Defining Success in Relationships
There are businesses with tens of thousands of customers and millions in revenue, but are they successful? Measuring success isn't about profit margins in the long run.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is losing sight of what's most important: maintaining positive and long lasting relationships with customers.
Having the right mindset, using the correct approach, and going above and beyond to "wow" your customer base will deliver results that will weather the storms of life.
Even when other services are being terminated and other products are being cut from budgets or when the markets rise and fall, creating an atmosphere of genuine appreciation is the surest way to stay in the business game for the long haul.
As the late Norman Brinker, founder of Chilis Grill and Bar, once said, "Every guest is our guest." Think like Mr. Brinker and you are guaranteed to succeed in building strong business relationships for many years to come.