Why Securing a Relationship Is More Important Than Securing a Sale

Why Securing a Relationship Is More Important Than Securing a Sale

Loyalty still exists. Yes, it’s 2018. Yes, business can be cut-throat. But people are still capable of being loyal — you just have to earn their trust.

In sales, trust is a big deal. And consistency in follow-up is what builds that trust.

We just closed a sale we’ve been pursuing diligently since 2015. Since we initially contacted the company three years ago, we’ve followed up every quarter. Now they’re buying. It’s not like they didn’t buy before — they just didn’t buy from us. But they’ve seen our consistency, and when their old vendor stopped meeting their needs, they knew who to call. Now, instead of trying to convince them that we’re worth their trust, our conversations focus on tactically solving their problems.

Why? Securing a relationship pays off — and is often even more important than securing a sale.

Customers Want a Relationship With You

Customers know what they don’t know. They know your expertise is in a different field and they need partners they trust in these different fields. Then they can rely on you to get them from point A to point D as quickly as possible, since you’ve done it before.

Relationships 101

Every relationship has a beginning, middle, and end. Maybe at the beginning of your relationship with a prospective client, they tell you, “I’m not interested in your service — my brother-in-law handles that for me and I don’t want to make family dinners weird.” As a salesperson, you know that’s a hard obstacle to overcome, so you don’t push it. Still keep in touch with them. Let them know if they’re ever in a pinch, you’re there.

Maybe things don’t work out with their brother-in-law and they later decide to change vendors. They may not initiate calling you, but if you’re regularly in contact, they have an easy opportunity to respond. This isn’t about being invasive — it’s about being available.

Make Change Easy

A consistent relationship saves your prospects the labor of the mental gymnastics it takes to choose another vendor. They don’t want to deal with the 90 steps it takes to change from one supplier to another. They don’t want to think about those logistics. But if you’re keeping in touch with them and making yourself available, you can make the change easy. You’re giving them less to deal with as they end one relationship and start another.

Ever put something off for weeks because you dread doing it? You procrastinate, agonize, and maybe even lose sleep over it. But when you finally deal with it, you knock it out in about a minute. Changing vendors can feel like that. It’s mentally taxing. Your prospects probably won’t come right out and say, “It’s a pain to switch!” but if they do, identify with them. Recognize that switching things up can be inconvenient, but if it’s a change they’ll inevitably need to make, you can make the process run smoothly.

Stay in Touch, Stay in the Game

You have to make the right number of touches with your prospects to remind them you’re still there. The trick is making those touches non-invasive. When they say, “Call me in six months,” you need to figure out how to contact them more frequently without coming on too strong. You need to trigger their brain so they know you’re still there but don’t feel like you’re being pushy.

Carve out time to make the touches. It doesn’t bring in a check right away, but it’s a foundation piece to a customer relationship you can’t skip. If you do, you’ll risk being reduced to a commodity.

Some of your contacts can be automated — like emails. Other times, you can make a phone call or drop by their office. Get creative too. Invite them to events where they can network or find leads for them through your own network. If you do, you’ll establish consistency, enrich the relationship, and build trust. And that’s how you secure a relationship.

People are loyal — but not blindly so. They’ll know when their existing vendor isn’t working anymore. You don’t have to con them out of their current commitment so they switch to you. Most sales relationships eventually end — either needs change or the business changes. And when that happens, people are looking for a new person they trust. If you’ve invested in the relationship with consistent, non-invasive contact, you’ll have earned their business and they’ll move their loyalty to you.


5 Tips to Improve Client Loyalty With Customer Service

improve customer loyalty

A detailed business plan, an optimal location, financial resources—these are factors that can make or break a business. However, no matter what you sell—whether it’s food, clothing, electronics or consulting—having great customer service is an essential component of creating a successful business, and securing client loyalty, too.

Learning to “do it all” and do it well

Business owners typically excel in several areas. Some are good at managing people, making a little money go a long way, and selling the heck out of a product. But when it comes to creating an effective customer service culture, they fall flat. There’s good news, however, if you fall into this category.

A little customer service goes a long way.

How much service do customers actually expect?

Unfortunately, because customers’ expectations are at an all-time low, they generally expect to be treated poorly when calling a company to request services or buy products, or get help with a problem.

Look at Comcast’s service as an example. It wouldn’t take much to turn their reputation for having poor customer service around. One way to improve a customer’s experience with Comcast is as simple as training service providers who install cable to communicate.

Here’s what that would look like:

Upon leaving a customer’s home, the service professional calls the next appointment on the list to alert the next customer that he will be there shortly. The driver can troubleshoot the scenario, apologizing if he’s late, offering an estimated time of arrival, or confirming the customers’ address.

If you do just a few things well, you’ll look like a customer-service rock star to your customers.


Five keys to great customer service:

Here’s a five-step plan for hitting customer service out of the park, and establishing a foundation for customer care that centers on the customer’s value.

1. Give your customer service team the right communication tools. If customers can only communicate via phone—where customers have to (gasp) stay on hold to get in touch with someone—and web forms to get in touch with you, you’re failing at customer service. Give customer care reps more options for communicating with customers, like text. Texting is now a way of life for consumers, and they’re accustomed to using text for asking questions and getting answers.

2. Create a customer service culture. You won’t succeed at customer service if you can’t offer a great experience, guaranteed, no matter who answers the call. If you only have a few good people that can deliver great customer service every time, but the rest of your team flounders, you don’t have a culture of customer experience. Make a plan to establish what constitutes good customer service and train your reps.

3. Focus on creating a “good start”. Study how 5-star hotels create a good first impression. When a guest arrives on-site, and before she opens her mouth, the hotel staff already know her name and a few pertinent personal details. Put these same guidelines into place in your customer care policies so that every customer’s interaction with your business gets off to a good start.

4. Make it easy for customers to do business with you. Consider online customer care chat services. In the past, this was an alternative communication line instead of calling over the phone Today, however, it’s an archaic form of communication. Consumers now want to communicate with businesses the way they do in their personal lives, using text or social media.

5. Improve every point of communication in the customer life cycle. Evaluate how your business communicates with customers during the onboarding process, while using your products/services, and when ending the relationship. Create a plan to improve customer service at every stage, and implement clear procedures for customer care reps to follow.

Effective customer care leads to loyal clients, and as byproduct, increased revenue. You never know when a customer will need your products or services again, so take advantage of every opportunity to impress.