What do the most powerful and most profitable companies have in common? They have mastered the art of building emotional connections. It really doesn’t matter what industry you are in and whether you are selling a product or a service but it’s essential to build strong relationships with your customers. Relationships that go far deeper than just doing the work required on time and on budget or delivering a product safely.
People like to buy from people they like. Simple as that. We all make instant judgements about others and many can tolerate doing business with people if they get a great deal, but would you really recommend them to someone else?
Imagine your best clients talking about you behind your back at a networking breakfast or social event. Being talked about favourably in business is what most of us strive for, especially when you do business in an area like ours. Word-of-mouth influence really can be key to making or breaking your business.
Keep your promises
Part of building a great customer relationship involves establishing trust and keeping your promises at every stage of the customer’s journey. Give them a ring when you say you will. Be responsive. Be available at the times that you promise. Stick to the price you quoted – even if the project has gone a little over budget or you’ve spent longer perfecting copy for a brochure. If you’ve said you will deliver for a fixed fee you must stick to it. You need to show your customers that you and your company will keep your word and honour your commitments. All of which helps build trust over time, helps your clients relax and hopefully give you more of their business.
Make every experience count
Be nice to people and do what you say you will. Even if you’re rushed off your feet never make your clients feel hurried. If you’re having a bad day try and turn it round and make them glad they got in touch with you. One of the biggest competitive advantages in business is to have a memorable, thoughtful and enjoyable customer experience. Be creative in how you look after your clients. Over-deliver and go above and beyond their expectations or give them something extra on a big project they didn’t expect. Your customer experience is often your best form of marketing. When people see what it’s like to work with you, hopefully they will keep coming back for more.
Don’t be afraid to open up a little with customers and learn more about what they like to do in their spare time. It can open up a new level of understanding and connection and you may end up having more fun conversations and build a deeper rapport. It doesn’t hurt to have a little fun while making money, and the best customers tend to appreciate this. In our line of work, now more than ever, I really need to like the people we work for to get excited about working on their accounts.
Connect your clients
If you’re happy with your product or service it’s great to put clients in touch with each other. It might be by inviting a new client to an event held by another client or suggesting people connect on social media. If you think a client may benefit from meeting another client, set it up.
Trust each other
Much of business is based on simple trust. People need each other, and people like to buy from people that they like, trust and can count on. You might find that building stronger emotional connections is not just about having a well written website or well-crafted copy for an advert. It’s about the simple things like enabling people to trust you by keeping your promises and giving people a brilliant experience of working with you - each and every time.