Marketing is personal. You have to know your customer. Who are they? What do they like? What do they dislike? What will you both bring to the table? Kickoff meetings are a great way to get information about your client’s business, but you still need to get to know your client on a more personal level. I’m not saying you need to have a therapy session with them, but you cannot be afraid to pick their brain. The more you converse with your client, the more opportunities you have to build a relationship.
Building trust with your client isn’t going to happen overnight. Think about your personal relationships. You learn to trust someone after they have proven they are a good friend to you over a period of time. Business relationships are no different. When you repeatedly show a customer that you have their best interests in mind and give them fair and honest feedback, you have developed a sense of trust. This makes it so much easier to communicate your ideas to customers and vice versa.
Use Your Eyes
Being able to accurately read body language is extremely helpful when building a relationship with a new client. Reading body language helps you predict what your client might be thinking before they actually say it. For example, all Peter has to do when Lorraine offers up a new idea is raise an eyebrow and she instantly knows to drop it and go in a different direction. The more you can read your customer’s physical reactions, the better you will be able to gauge what they like and don’t like without them having to verbally tell you.
Know When to Reach Out
Developing a steady flow of communication with your clients will also strengthen your relationship. You don’t need to call them every day or set up meetings once a week, but you do need to reach out to them when it’s appropriate. Use your best judgement. If a client emails you, respond as soon as you can. If you start reaching out to your client and don’t receive a response for several days, there is a problem. Keeping in contact builds trust. Your customers want to know that when they reach out to you they will get a timely response.
Everyone likes to hear thank you now and again, especially your customers. Don’t neglect the opportunity to let them know how much they mean to you. Customers really like to feel appreciated. Did you notice some new reviews on your Angie’s List page? Did a customer send you a personal email thanking your business for providing an excellent service? Show them some love. Tell them thank you! Being polite and appreciative to your customers will only help spread the word about your business.
Building relationships with customers takes time. Try looking at your clients as extended family members and less as potential sales. Just be real with them. Listen, be observant and respectful of their time and opinions. It’s not rocket science, but it does take time and effort. Give your customers the time and effort they deserve.