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The Comprehensive Guide to Relationship Marketing – How to, tips & strategies

by | How-To Guides | 2 comments

Relationship Marketing: grow your business with personal touch with customers
How to grow your business using personal connections with Customers. – Personalized Relationship Marketing

It is a fact that people like to buy from other people, and not from companies. This means if you want to increase your customer base, you should work on your personal connections with your potential customers. This post will discuss how you can grow your company using personal connections.

5 Best Strategies for Relationship Marketing

Show Interest before Selling

You should show interest in your customers before you start selling to them, and you can easily do this by asking them questions before launching a hard sell. Ask your potential customers about what they are looking for, and use this information to explain to them how your product or service can meet these needs.

You can utilize a series of open ended and closed questions to ensure that you understand exactly what your customers want. This way, they will feel that you care about their needs and will continue doing business with you.

Know Your Customers

In the physical world, it is easier to know and relate to your customers more than it is in the virtual world. All the same, there are things you can do to get to know your online customers. Try to build your business on the model of a local corner store.

In this model, the local owner knows his customers (and their family members) by their names. You can achieve the same thing by collecting personal data (legally) from your customers and mentioning in your dealings with them.

For example, you can congratulate them on their birthdays, graduations or even marriage. Social media platforms are very useful for collecting this data. When you relate to your customers this way, they will count you among their circle of friends and become even more inclined to deal with you.

Organize Occasional Face To Face Meetings

The internet, or social media in particular, is good for interactions but it is not enough. You need to create opportunities where your customers can put a face to your online business. There are several ways of doing this.

If you can conduct some of your transactions in the physical world, do so occasionally. You can also organize an annual get together with your customers or even use your venues for holding social gatherings of your followers or fans of your social sites.

The idea is to show your customers that there is a human face behind those emails, phone calls or tweets they regularly receive. This way, they will be more open to giving you repeat business.

Read about 5 stage AACRO® model of digital marketing

Listen To Your Customers

There are few things as annoying as getting interrupted in the middle of a conversation. If you want to show respect to your customers, you should listen to their concerns and needs keenly before offering them solutions.

Try not to assume that you know what they want before you listen to them. Customer care executives tend to make this mistake a lot, by formulating responses to customers before understanding the root of customers’ problems.

First build a relationship by listening to your customers, then you can leverage this relationship to maintain and even grow your customer base.

Use the above techniques to build relationships with your customers, and they will stick with your business. These are some of the methods used by the entrepreneurs of the hugely successful companies. Just remember that a relationship isn’t built overnight, so you should expect to work on it for some time before seeing results.

Focus on Binge Marketing Tactics

To make a great online relationship with your customers, try giving them welcome offer, free trial, money back guarantee, Free lifetime offers, Free books or resources. Get them habituated to use your product or services for certain time without any obligation and then keep in touch with them for upselling or cross selling.

Related reading: How to generate leads online

This binge marketing techniques focus into building relationship first with customers by adding value and by solving their problems or helping them and then through push notification, email marketing, sms, whatsapp you can keep in touch with them with upgrade offer to your premium products or services.

How to retain your existing customers & be loved by them

The prime focus for any business in this cutthroat competitive market is to find new customers. However, you should not lose sight of keeping your existing customers as every customer counts these days. Customers often jump ship due to many reasons, and one of them is the customer’s feeling of indifference towards some other products or services. Thus, it is important to make your customers feel wanted and appreciated. But more important than this is to make your customers love you for their devotion and loyalty.

The first rule to enjoy your customer’s heart is to know what they want. Never assume this as you might be wrong. Many new ventures fail mostly because they try to create demand, instead of catering to an existing one. Also, such companies try to build their business around unproven and untested ideas, which are hard pressed and are unable to attract customers.

Thus, it is essential to test your product or service around the market demands. Also, start it small. This will help you to understand the needs, wants, and desires of your customers. Next is to find innovative ways to address their needs like never before and try to exceed their expectations.

Another guaranteed way to make your customers love you is by personalizing all your loyalty programs. Plan the designing and execution of the loyalty program in a systemized way. Also, demonstrate the value of your program to your team for their better understanding, which in turn, will help you to create a winning, personalized loyalty program. Find out what your customers like to do and involve such activities in your program.

Related reading: 5 best ways to nurture customer relationships

Always deliver on time. This is the key stone to make customers come back to you. In case, you are facing a problem that hinders the delivery, inform the customers immediately and explain them how you are dealing with the issue. Also, follow up with them on a regular basis until the delivery is completed. This helps to build a positive attitude and a trust factor. The same applies for invoices and other correspondence.

The manner in which you communicate with your customers also matters. For example, thanking your customers (though may sound too obvious) will help you to create an impact. A simple strategy like sending a thank-you note to your customers for their loyalty and devotion says a lot about the value you place on them.

Similarly, wishing you customers on special occasions like on their birthdays, anniversary, New Years and Christmas will help you to reach close to them. Also, train your stuff, especially those who are responsible for customer contact. They must be emphatic, flexible and proficient in verbal communication to create your company’s reputation and win customers’ trust.

Finally, stay connected with your customers through emails, newsletters, text messages and telephones. Though you can play favorites (especially with new customers), make sure you are not neglecting the other valued customers.

Value of existing customers – Infographics

value of an existing customer - infographic

Establishing and Growing Business Relationships

how to establish and grow business & customer relationships

Relationship economics is the quantifiable value of any business relationship. And this include both online and offline business relationships. By business relationship, we don’t simply mean the relationship between business owners, suppliers and customers.

The term rather includes a huge group. It includes all the connections you have on your LinkedIn profile; the members of your business Facebook page; your followers on Twitter with whom you communicate through tweets with hashtags; the Pinterest members who reads your clever boards, and the subscribers and viewers of your YouTube videos.

In addition, it includes those business acquaintances you come cross in networking events and corporate seminars. In short, your business relationship includes all the social circle and influential contacts that play key roles in center of influence.

Turn your social circle into active and interested social currency

Thus, it is important to nurture and maintain this relationship. Also, you will need to gap the bridge between creating business relationship and capitalizing it. You need to turn your social circle into active and interested social currency to foster engagement. This, in turn, will help in creating valuable and lasting relationships. However, it is also important to remember that the manner of building business relationships has evolved over the years, especially with the advent of Internet and social networks.

Though Internet and online mode of communications allow you to initiate a contact to build relationships with much ease, sending an unsolicited email can result in losing the proposition altogether. Online communication is getting more sophisticated; people are better protected these days against unwanted noise. As a result, maintaining and nurturing business relationships online is becoming as challenging as doing it in-person. You will face the continuous pressure for efficiency and effectiveness.

Add value to every interaction

The key focus for building both online and offline business relation is adding value to every interaction. The main purpose is to either provoke or provide a different perspective so that your social contact remembers their conversation with you. One of the best ways to initiate an impressive conversation is to listen intently, remain informative about various topics, and question constantly. Also, understand the value of brevity and capitalize on it as online conversation is all about being brief and to-the-point.

Strong and positive impression during the initial contact

In case, you can make a strong and positive impression during the initial contact, the chances of people seeking you out will increase. It is also likely to warrant immediate action from your suitors and the timeliness of their response is an indication of the effectiveness of your previous conversation. However, don’t be disheartened if you fail to warrant any kind of action from them after the initial contact. In such situations, you should be the one following up.

Do your homework & research to initiate more conversation

While following up with a business contact you need to do some basic homework. Go through your initial contact – the topics that you discussed earlier will help you to find another clue to initiate a new conversation. Doing the background study is essential in every level, especially during the pre-initial contact. Research the event you will be initiating the contact, your potential attendees, topics, industry trends and recent similar events.

It is also advised to have a clear understanding of the topical conversation starters. One of the best ways to start a conversation with a person already been introduced online is to reinforce credibility through association. Bring up questions that interest you both to jump-start an interaction.

Be engaged proactively

Be present in each conversation (initiated or participated by people you are targeting) to get yourself engaged proactively. Saying this, we don’t want you to be a conversation hog or noisy. Your inputs should add value to the conversation.

And distributing business cards excessively is a big no-no; it will only make you annoying, and people would rather like to avoid initiating conversations with you around. You may, at the most, capture a few notes regarding the conversation once you finish speaking and be diligent while disengaging from the conversations. The key here is to understand the current as well as the future needs of the people you are targeting and address them in your future interactions.

Send a follow-up note on the same day and make it brief

Send a follow-up note on the same day and make it brief. Most importantly, the note should offer something valuable like a PDF of a relevant and interesting article, a link to a data, or some points of interest. Relevancy is the key here. You may even suggest proactively the next step for creating an influential relationship. Of course, you will be keen to establish a business relationship, but be casual in your approach and pace yourself. Also, be pragmatic and practical and give your business contacts options while initiating a further conversation.

Positioning yourself properly

Another important factor that you need to consider is your position. In case, the contact has a higher business stature than yours, place yourself as a peer. Similarly, while initiating a contact with a person of same or lower business stature, make your time and be humble and candid in your approach.

Keep patience

You may fail to get an immediate response at times, wait for at least a week before initiating another conversation. You may write an email or call the person just to inquire if they received your follow-up. And while doing so, be formal and maintain your professionalism.

Also, remember to add value to your conversation. If you still fail to get any response, it is likely to be fruitless to try initiating another conversation. Instead, think if you could have done it differently. No, it won’t change anything, but you will at least understand where you went wrong. And you can move on and focus on a rather relevant and responsive contact.

In conclusion, remember demonstrating integrity is essential for building business relationship. Learn to earn a personal passion and be proud about your business relationships.

Debajyoti Banerjee is the Founder, Director & CEO of Seven Boats - A leading digital marketing agency & digital marketing training institute in India since 2011. He is a Google & LinkedIn Certified Digital Marketer & Trainer, Brand Strategist, Consultant & Entrepreneur. Debajyoti has 17+ years of domain expertise & successful track records in Digital Marketing & emerging technologies. Learn more Schedule an appointment with Debajyoti Banerjee

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2 Comments

  1. Matt

    Hey !
    Building customer relationship is the basic point of marketing. i really liked the pin points about customer relationship,specially “Listen to your customer. Great insights.
    Thanks.
    Matt

    Reply
    • Debajyoti Banerjee

      Thank you Matt. Yes agreed. Relationship marketing is the key.

      Reply

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