7 Steps to Profitable Client Relationships
Building a profitable business is almost always the result of creating strong relationships with your customers. Here are are seven relationship marketing ideas you can use to build solid and profitable client relationships. Nothing new here, just 7 common sense relationship marketing ideas that we all know, but seldom use.
1. Be sure your customers know what level of service you provide.
Does McDonald's have the best hamburgers, shakes and fries. I doubt it. Then why are they so successful? According to most marketing experts, it's when you go to McDonald's you know exactly the level of service and quality that you will get. Do your client's know the level of service that they will get every time they do business with you? We all develop certain expectations with the people that we deal with, be sure that you always meet or exceed them.
Relationship Marketing Tip: Monitor your business carefully and make constant improvement a goal. But don't implement changes that you can't maintain.
2. Don't hide Your light under a basket
I don't care how good you are at what you do, it's of no value unless your clients recognize it. If you don't confidently let the people you interact with know the value you bring to the table, why should they do business with you? If you don't feel confident, then as a number of motivational trainers say: Fake It Till You Make It.
Here's a tip for increasing your confidence: Document the “best way” to handle events that occur regularly in your business and create an action plan for each situation. Not only will this increase your confidence, it will help insure that you are consistent in your client interactions.
3. Get to know what your clients want and need
According to Havey McKay, author of “The Harvey Mackay Rolodex Network Builder” and “Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty“, the more you know about your clients and the more you use that information to your client's benefit, the better your relationship will be and the more sales you will make. I use his “Mackay 66” questionnaire as a guideline to help me get to know more about my clients. It's a great tool. If you would like a copy you can download it here MacKay 66.
Relationship Marketing Power Tip: A great way to use the MacKay 66 is to picture your perfect client and then fill in as much of it as you can using your fictitious client. This is a great way to profile your target market.
4. Don't hide from complaints view them as opportunities to serve
If you want to take your relationship marketing to the next level view complaints an opportunity to serve. When you quickly resolve customer's problems, you let them that they are important to you. This not only builds a stronger relationships, it prevents that customer from spreading bad news about your business. How you handle complaints can be the difference between success or failure. Remember, the clients may not always right, they always thinks they are. Strive to resolve customer problem to their satisfaction and you create good will that is bankable.
5. Make your clients feel important – Because They Are!
Do you let your customer's know how important they are by recognizing their birthdays or other special occasions? Do you thank them for referrals. Do you thank them for their business? Is client recognition a part of your marketing budget? When was the last time you followed up a sale with thank-you card and a phone call? How often do you check in with your clients just to see if there is anything you can do to help them?
If you don't think your clients are important, try doing business without them.
6. Keep your clients up to date about your business
One of the most powerful ways to generate a consistent flow of referrals is to educate your clients. Call, write or email them when you have a new product or service that can help them. Have a newsletter that keeps your clients up to date on what is happening in your business? Provide tips that can help them get more value from the products they already have. The more your customer know about you and your business the the more referrals you will receive. One reason customers don't refer as often as they could is simply because they forget about you. When you keep in contact via newsletters, emails and phone calls they are more likely to remember you when a friend is looking for the types of products or services you provide.
7. Help your clients
The best way to make a friend is to be a friend. The best way to create client loyalty is to be loyal to your clients. Your customers are looking for answers, information that can help. Do you help your clients whenever you can, or do you just contact them to sell them more. Become a resource to your customers and provide help that goes beyond the service that you provide. If you want loyal clients who consistently send referrals, implement the ideas in this section — you'll be glad you did.
Make using the above relationship marketing suggestions a permanent part of your relationship marketing plan. I recommend you follow Ben Franklin's approach, Select one of the above suggestions each week and work on it. Keep doing this until these suggestions become a habit and then keep doing this. Give this a try for at least twelve weeks, if you do, you'll be amazed at how much business seems to magically appear.