People buy from people they know, like and trust. They become life-long clients and customers when you become competent in building really solid, strong business relationships. Oftentimes, marginally less competent business people do and retain more business than their competitors simply because of the relationship that they have built with their customers. People don’t so much remember what you do for them…they remember how you made them feel. The art of 'building business relationships' that will result in lifelong clients is to provide great value and make that person feel important.
Why you fail when building business relationships
These are the statistics from ActionCOACH business coaching company on why people leave you and your business as a customer.
The study shows that 68% of people leave you because of ‘perceived indifference’. This means that the customer felt that the business owner or the team that worked for that business were ‘indifferent’ to whether they did business with them or not. The customer felt that they just didn’t care. So what can we learn form this study? It can be difficult to counteract customers leaving you because of them moving home, being sold by a friend and certainly by them dying…but there’s a lot a business can do to counteract ‘perceived indifference’ and instead excel at building business relationships.
Biggest mistake made regarding building business relationships
It never ceases to surprise me the lack of effort that some businesses put into building business relationships. This ranges from one man/woman bands to large corporations. Their focus is on getting the customer or gaining the business. But often as soon as they’ve secured the first transaction, they fail to put the processes and systems in place to ensure that this customer becomes a client for life.
Never take your best customers for granted when building business relationships
One of the key mistakes that business owners, sales professionals, marketers and service providers make is taking their best customers or producers for granted. They become complacent and feel that this particular customer will never leave them. New business is important, but focusing on building business relationships with your current customers is more important.
Many of you will know that it is estimated to cost 5 times more to gain a new customer than to keep an existing one. This is common knowledge among business people and marketers. However there is a ‘knowing-doing’ gap. People who need to get and keep clients continually fail to focus enough time on keeping their best customers happy. They fail to incentivise their continued loyalty. I often ask my own clients that I work with… “What would your business look like if you had been able to keep every customer/client you ever got?” The question always gets a reaction, because there’s a lot of home truths in reflecting on this area.
So, how do you excel at building business relationships and keeping clients for life?
Get to know the person – the very best business people and sales professionals maintain a file on each of their main customers or producers outlining the details of their partner, children, hobbies, significant life events (both past and future), birthdays, sports etc. Not everyone needs to have such a structured approach, but if you have a tendency to forget this type of information, it would be a valuable tip to start recording it, and reviewing it prior to meeting or speaking with one of your clients. Nothing spells ‘indifference’ quicker than if a client has to continually remind you that they can’t meet or speak to you in a particular week because they are having surgery or going away on a holiday that they’ve been looking forward to for months.
Make it your business to remember names and significant events…because it is your business.
Let your clients or producers know that you appreciate them. Thank them often. Be spontaneous and send them a thank you card or token of appreciation when they least expect it. Everyone often expects to receive a token of appreciation for business at Christmas/Holiday time, but if you express gratitude for someones custom and support when they least expect it, it’ll have a much greater impact. You’ll really be on a different level with regard to building business relationships if you do this.
Be ‘present’ when you’re with every customer. In a group situation, it’s crucial to make every individual ‘feel’ important. Oftentimes, in coaching situations, coaches are very ‘present’ in a one-to-one meetings, but in group training or planning sessions, they fail to focus their attention evenly. They often neglect their one-to-one clients because they might feel that they see them “all the time”. Look after your key core clients…they are your passport to future wealth and long term growth. Never underestimate how quickly a relationship can sour and become very fragile if neglected.
If you’re looking for an online business opportunity where you can focus on building business relationships and gaining control of your time and finances in the process, click here.