In a highly competitive market, what would make customers continue coming your way? Gartner Group revealed that 80 percent of your future profits will come from 20 percent of your existing clients.
The results of this study show that if you can make your existing clients loyal to your company, then your profits will increase. Customer retention should outweigh customer acquisition.
The question now is: how do you keep your clients loyal? Marketing and sales are all about building meaningful relationships with your target audience. And it’s these relationships that breed loyalty. It is beyond making the first sales but turning the customers from first time customers to repeat customers. And making them brand ambassadors for your business.
Now let’s take a step back and look at building customer relationships for what it really is – establishing lasting friendships. Just like every friendship, you can’t rush it neither can you force people to like you. You can’t manipulate the outcome either. If you do, it is bound to boomerang. It’s rather a process where you hold the person’s hand and go on a journey and not drag them through it.
When you look at it that way, it demystifies the whole concept of relationship building and customer retention. And the steps to establish lasting friendship with your potential customer are just as simple. Here they are:
Step #1: Get to know your potential client
Imagine attending a cocktail party. It’s fun, there are plenty of drinks and of course, really cool people. A well-dressed man walks up to you and politely introduces himself. Before you could open your mouth to reciprocate the introduction, he goes on and on about his business and what you should buy from him.
You won’t enjoy such a meeting, would you?
But what if he made an effort to get to know you too, would you have liked it better? Of course you would!
When you step into the shoes of your potential client, you need to do more listening and less talking. As a B2B company your objective is to give value to your client all the time. How do you know what your customer finds valuable? It’s through getting to know them better.
Here are some ways you can do that.
1. Ask your existing clients for feedback on your products or services.
Let them know how much you respect their opinion and how important it is for you to give them a better experience. And then listen. As you receive feedback from your existing clients, make sure you go deeper by asking the right kind of questions. This will give you more comprehensive data about your clients and potential clients.
2. Run a survey to help identify the problems your target audience is going through.
Form a connection with your potential customer based on their pain points. Dig deep to understand their pain and think of ways your company can help them with their problem.
3. Find out what your client is interested in.
Most unhappy customers won’t willingly do business with you again, just the way you wouldn't want to hang out with a friend who was mean to you. So ask yourself: What are the things that make your clients happy? Observe what your clients like about your business, then figure out what you can do to make them happier with your product or service.
Remember, the aim is to give value and to do this consistently. To give value, you need to listen closely to your potential client.
Step #2: Nurture with the right content at the right time
You got the conversation going and both of you are having a great time. What happens next? Obviously, both of you won’t be at the event the whole day. What this means is you need to create an avenue to maintain the friendship you created.
So both of you exchanged phone numbers and emails and even connected on social media. Then how can you nurture this friendship?
Most businesses focus on making the sale and when successful, they’re gone. In Lithium’s 2017 State of Social Engagement Studies, marketers were encouraged to emphasize on listening and giving their customers what they need. In essence, a lot of money is left on the table when B2B companies fail to nurture a relationship with the customer after making the sale.
Here are some ways you can keep the relationship going.
4. Consistently put out helpful and informative content for your client.
You can do this on your blog and your social media account. Your content should not always be about your business. It could be about other things like influencer marketing, or internet safety for children, or just about anything else which would still be related to your business in a way, but most beneficial to your customer. The idea is to sustain your client’s interest all the time.
5. Get your clients on your email list.
For businesses, email is a great way to maintain a relationship with your clients. It's an effective communication channel with your clients or potential clients. Through email, you can foster deeper connection. There, you can share your story and engage with your audience. You can also tailor emails that focus on specific topics or problems they’re interested in or want solutions for.
Step #3: Make a personal connection with your client
At this stage, your friendship with your client is deepening. You’re both in regular contact with each other. But do you only maintain relationships with your clients on business basis?
Business connections usually have a formal tone, but if you’re buddies now, you should shift from being too formal to being more intimate. This takes your relationship further.
6. Remember little details about your clients.
Something as simple as remembering little details that mean a lot to your clients can make a big difference in your relationship with them. You can send your customers personalized thank you notes for their patronage or celebrate them on their birthday.
For example, Gary Vaynerchuk recounted an incident where he went the extra mile to give one of his clients a Bears jersey signed by Jay Cutler because he saw from his customer’s Twitter that his customer was a great fan.
My name is Sherrie Campbell, I am an author, Ph.D. holder, living in California USA. I'm a blogger for the Huffington Post, a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur and licensed Psychologist with over nineteen years of clinical training and experience.