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Sales is all about relationships. We know that customer experience is crucial for making the sale; according to McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Another study shows that 69% of customers leave because they don’t feel you care enough about them or their business.
It’s clear then that creating meaningful relationships with customers is important to nurturing them and delivering higher revenue. A personal connection with the customer allows you to build trust and situate yourself in a position where they are more likely to buy and take on board your suggestions. They’ll also think twice about moving to a different company if they feel a personal connection with you, the seller.
Here’s how to create meaningful relationships with customers which lead to higher revenues.
Listen and Get to Know Them
Listen to them. This is the number one rule when creating meaningful relationship - whether it be with customers, co-workers or in personal relationships. When you are asking discovery questions, be sure to subtly find out details about their life and look for common ground: Are they married? Do they have kids? Pets? Where do they vacation? What are their interests outside of work? You can also find information like this by interacting on social media platforms. Hold onto any of this info and build on commonalities each time you interact.
A word of warning: people can usually tell when you are being disingenuous, so really listen and note their responses. For example, if every time you meet you simply ask, “How are the kids?” it may come across as insincere. However, if you have remembered something from the last time or share something of your own life, you are building a real and meaningful conversation and therefore, relationship. E.g. “So Sarah must have started her new school by now; how’s it going?” or “My daughter, Cailey, just started Grade 9 so we’re all adapting to High School right now... How is Sarah getting on with the change?”
By getting to know them and letting them get to know you, you’re creating and deepening a trusted relationship with the customer.
Share Your Story
As part of the “getting to know you” aspect, you can utilize storytelling to deepen the relationship. Listen to, or research, their business pain points and be ready to share relevant stories of how you have helped customers in similar situations overcome them with great results. Just quoting a statistic can be easily forgotten, but when it’s accompanied by a real-life anecdote, it’s much more likely to make an impact.
Use storytelling to sell your company and product by sharing your founder’s story. Make him or her into a real person: why did they first come up with the product? What problem did they have in their own life that they created this problem to solve? In this way, you can bring your company’s mission and values to life.
Share your own story too; this will help build trust. Why did you choose to work for this company? Why do you believe in this product? Humanize your pitch with storytelling to seem less like a “smarmy” sales guy and more like a real person.
Make Them a Partner in the Process
Following on from this, listening to their business needs and taking their ideas into account is also vital to building a meaningful customer relationship. You are trying to provide a solution for their company, if you are able to make them feel like they are playing a part in providing this solution, they will feel proud to be a part of it.
If they give you feedback about their experience or the product, do you your utmost to act on it. This can range from the seemingly smallest of things, such as honouring their preference to be contacted via phone rather than email, to the more substantial product based ones, sharing their feedback about product improvements with your team and letting them know you are taking their ideas on board. Being flexible on your offering to them based on their feedback will make them feel valued.
Keep them in the loop. Call and email them regularly; try to make in person meetings whenever you can. Show them that they, and their business, are important to you.
By making them partners in the process, they’ll more likely consider their contract with you as a great deal and they’ll also be more likely to stick with you and spend more money in the long term.
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