Forbes says, “The success of a B2B company hinges largely on strong client relationships, especially for a small or early stage company.” That’s why it’s so important to become a trusted partner, instead of just another vendor.
You have to differentiate yourself from the competition with the level of service you deliver. (BTW, this one-on-one service is why Solamar’s clients keep working with us.) We like to call it “Business Relationship IQ,” and it’s that level of intelligence that helps businesses get and keep the right clients and customers…the ones that continue to work with you month after month and year after year.
Evaluate your customers’ Relationship IQ
To figure out if your current business relationships are healthy and productive, you have to ask yourself a number of questions, a few of which include:
- Who are your current customers and prospects?
- What do they do for a living, in their spare time?
- What personality, demographic, psychographic, and other character traits do they share?
- Do they clearly understand your core messaging…what do you stand for, why should they buy from you, what’s the benefit to them?
- Is all your content relevant to them and action-oriented?
- Have you asked them what they want from you (products, services, content)? Are you delivering what they’ve asked for?
- Do you speak their language…are you talking to them in terms they understand and expect from you?
- Are you delivering the treatment they expect and deserve? Are you clearly showing them that you give a damn about them and their business?
You absolutely, positively need definite answers to key relationship essentials like these if you want to build lasting relationships with your ideal clients and customers. Entrepreneur says that every business owner should, “Never underestimate the value and reach of a loyal, repeat customer.”
Personally, I strongly believe that it’s even more important to know your customers and potential customers than it is to know your product!
Choose your “right” clients wisely
“Keeping your best clients is much more difficult when you do not choose the right clients to begin with,” says Jeff Simon. “Notice I did not say choose “good” clients. A good client is not necessarily the right client for your business.”
So, how can you determine if a potential client or customer is the right one? Ask yourself these two questions: Can you help this client…and can you work with this client?
Author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker, Seth Godin, rightly says that all too often we tolerate a lopsided relationship and contort ourselves to sustain a strained connection to the point where we cannot spend more time taking care of our GREAT customers. Why? I think it’s because we are afraid of losing revenue. That is sad when there are so many right clients out there!
Stop and consider: the actual cost of serving the not-as-right clients could eventually take its toll on your business and your life. So it makes sense to do it right from the start.
Build relationships with the “right” customers
It’s easier for businesses like yours to transition from a vendor to a trusted partner when you:
- Are patient in getting to know your clients and take the time to solidify new relationships with them.
- Build your network with business colleagues, professional acquaintances, prospective and existing customers, partners, suppliers, contractors and association members, as well as family, friends, and people you meet at school and in your community.
- Communicate early and often…or they’ll forget about you. Stay in touch with email, newsletters, blog posts, social media, special offers, and more.
- Go the extra mile…with customized solutions and special personalized service.
- Respond promptly…when a client or customer emails or phones you. Even if you don’t have the answer yet, get back to them as quickly as possible.
- Be more than an email address…Consider a phone call, Skype, or an in-person meeting to put a face (and/or voice) to a name.
And above all…talk to the relationship experts at Solamar to get and keep the right customers and clients.