Importance of Relationship And How To Keep Customers Happy
You know it makes sense to look after your existing customers and protect the business that they give you from the competition. Simply put, it’s cheaper and more profitable to maintain an existing customer than it is to continually lose and then HAVE to win additional new customers.
Sounds simple, frankly, it is straightforward. Let’s look at what customers really want and then look at how to use that knowledge to keep them doing business with us, repeatedly.
What customers want from their supplier?
Consider this; you have an existing relationship with your client and you know this gives you an advantage over the competition. The key is how to keep this relationship strong and make it impossible for the competition to break through.
So how do you build strong customer relationships?
- Take them out for dinner?
- Have a good joke with them?
- Invite them to hospitality or sporting events?
When allowed, these can all be effective in building the short-term relationship, all such activities will work to a certain extent, but what all customers want to ensure that they remain loyal is reliability and good service.
I'll tell you a story from my own experience..
For many years, I worked for an organization that provided a service with regular repeat use by their customers. They understood that keeping existing customers, and growing their business was as important as winning new ones. When I first met two of my key sales executives they clearly had very different personalities which I immediately thought would affect how they related to their customers.
Salesperson A was quiet and reserved, perhaps a little shy and was not very forward when meeting people for the first time. My first impression was surprise that he had chosen sales as a career – many colleagues and managers were concerned about how well he would build relationships with his customers.
Salesperson B was outgoing, extremely smart and was a ‘barrel of fun’. It was clear to me that Salesperson B was going to conquer the world and become the top sales person, and that I would have to work on Salesperson A to adopt a more outgoing approach.
Well, the opposite happened…and here is why.
Salesperson A was extremely reliable. He arrived on time, responded in a timely manner to everyone’s needs and in general created a fantastic impression with all his customers and prospects within a few weeks. Although initially winning small pieces of business, his customers soon began using his services more and more and he quickly started to smash his targets.
On the other hand, I started getting phone calls from Salesperson B’s customers saying that he didn’t get back to them with information he had committed to. Several times he failed to turn up for meetings and on more than one occasion the customer was clearly misinformed about our service commitments, resulting in costly claims. These complaints increased, very quickly he was missing his target by so much that we eventually parted ways.
The two salespeople had the same resources, the same products and the same service levels. The major difference was how reliable they were, and this had a huge impact on our existing customers.
The Top Five Reasons that you Lose Customers
What customers don’t like & why they leave you..
- They don’t feel appreciated
- They aren’t satisfied with the level of communication between your two organizations
- Having to deal with unprofessional, inaccessible staff at supplier organizations
- 10-15% leave due to the quality of the product or service. Often this is due to feeling the supplier is not tailoring the offer to their specific needs
- Less than 10% leave to competitors
Very few customers stop using your company and defect to the competition if the relationship is strong and they feel that their custom is appreciated. Here’s how to keep your customers.
Top Tips To Ensure That You Keep Good Relationships With All Your Clients
- Be professional. Selling is a profession and mutual respect will lead to stronger relationships.
- Measure your performance and gain feedback from the customers.
- Keep in contact with your customers even if there is not an immediate requirement from their side.
- Understand their business and align your company with theirs – it’s not about your products it’s about what you can do for them.
- Try to contribute to the internal success of your contact through the services you provide. Visibility on their own targets will help.
- If appropriate, broaden the relationship with hospitality and activity outside of the workplace.
- Never take a customer’s loyalty for granted–act at all times as if you are trying to gain their business.
- Involve your colleagues from other functions to provide support to your contact,such as getting your HR director to benchmark your organizations.
- Always be on time for everything – meetings, telephone calls, follow-up, proposals, pricing, quotes etc. Even if it doesn’t seem that important to your client.
- Appreciate the business your customer is given you. You will be operating on a
- Professional level but ultimately, they are paying your bills and your salary. It’s not complicated, but most salespeople no matter how experienced and professional sometimes simply forget to valuetheir customers sufficiently.
It’s good sales practice to constantly assess every relationship. I’m sure that some salespeople will have excuses – very long sales cycles, large numbers of clients, lack of product to name a few, however, most of the above tips are 100% down to individual effort. Remember, you will be more successful if you take the time and make the effort to appreciate your customer’s business and provide them reliable support – always.
Article supplied by Peter Heredia of Max Sale Solutions. Max Sale Solutions is a consultancy firm helping companies cut through the issues that are limiting increased sales. Unlike traditional sales training companies, they know that it is as important to increase the efficiency of a sales team by managing activity as well as improving their sales skills.