Here’s a little scenario, one that I’m sure has been played out on more than one occasion.
You pick up your phone and call one of your regular clients, or perhaps a new one, one that you may have landed after many attempts. The conversation goes well, you ask how they are doing, but sooner or later the conversation turns to you trying to sell them something. Sometimes they need it, and the sale is made, sometimes they don’t, and the sale waits for another day. After some friendly goodbyes, you hang up the phone. A few moments later, you pick up the phone and the process begins again.
This scene will undoubtedly play out hundreds of times over the course of the year. It can almost be habit forming. That can be a danger. Habits have a way of allowing you to take certain things for granted. Things such as your client will always be receptive to your thoughts and ideas. They won’t eventually see your conversations merely as a means to an end. Once you fall into the routine of just making the sales call, your clients will quickly begin to see you only as the tired salesman.
So what can you do to prevent this from happening? The answer is really quite simple, and yet most business and marketing people look right over it. If you want to maintain the relationship with your clients, and continue to earn their business, continue to build the relationship before anything else. In short, you cannot take your customers for granted and survive in this business environment.
It is important to remember that your clients today, are also your competitors’ prospects. It is quite easy for a client to move onto someone else, especially if they become dissatisfied with how they are being treated. There have been many instances where a client has been stolen away from a business with a few sincere and kind words.
This idea is so simple, and thankfully so is the execution. Little things can go a long way to helping to maintain a real relationship with your clients. Little things, like sending a thank you card to the client, even after a small project. Another way is to send them free information, ideas that can help their particular business grow and expand in this dynamic economy. And of course, talk to them on the phone on occasion, just to see how they are doing. It is also important to be honest with them. Contact them directly if the shipment will be late, or if you have an update to offer them. Whether it is good or bad news, it is better to hear from you, and not the business world grape vine. It will go a long way to maintaining the trusting relationship that you worked so hard to build.
How are you building long-term relationships with your clients?