Successful entrepreneurs don’t just communicate with their clients, prospects and customers for special sales. They are continuously reinventing their company, products and services which allows them creative ways of always being in their supporter’s presence.
In today’s market place we must focus on making our company indispensable. It is the main key to our marketing success. As entrepreneurs relationships helps to add value while helping in the enhancement of our brand which then position us in front of our competition.
These are some relationship-building strategies that I have found to be helpful in the transformation of my brand and my company into a valuable resource:
A) Find a way to communicate frequently: Here are a few questions for you to answer.
- How often do you reach out to customers?
- Does the bulk of your communications focus on product offers and sales?
- Do you send a card just because?
- Do you send birthday and anniversary cards?
- Are you keeping upon the advancements and accomplishment in their lives and send a card?
All of the above questions are very important reasons to communicate frequently with your clients/customers, and as you have noticed they provide a variation in the types of messages they are receiving.
Another powerful means of communication is a regular newsletter with helpful hints on different how to tips. This will be a welcome form of communication; instead of a constant barrage of promotions. The frequency your e-zine or Newsletter will depend on your industry and workload. Don’t start at a pace you will not be able to maintain. You may choose to only do seasonal.
B) Offer your customer rewards. Customers loyalty should be rewarded, not only for their personal purchases, however whenever there is a referral you need to find a way to reward them. Depending on your business type they could take advantage of a program they have not yet used; better yet allow them to offer that to someone who is not yet a customer in the form of a gift certificate. This will bring new eye balls to your business.
The most effective programs offer graduated rewards, so the more customers spend, the more they earn. This rewards your best, most profitable clients or customers and cuts down on low-value price switchers-customers who switch from program to program to get entry-level rewards.
Whenever possible, offer in-kind rewards that remind your customers of your company and its products or services.
C) Hold special events. The company-sponsored golf outing is back. With the renewed interest in retaining and up-selling current customers, company-sponsored special events are returning to the forefront. Any event that allows you and your staff to interact with your best customers is a good bet, whether it’s a springtime golf outing, a summertime pool party or an early fall barbecue. Just choose the venue most appropriate for your unique customers and business.
D) Build two-way communication. When it comes to customer relations, “listening” can be every bit as important as “telling.” Use every tool and opportunity to create interaction, including asking for feedback through your Web site and e-newsletters, sending customer surveys (online or offline) and providing online message boards or blogs. Customers who know they’re “heard” instantly feel a rapport and a relationship with your company.
E) Enhance your customer service. Do you have a dedicated staff or channel for resolving customer problems quickly and effectively? How about online customer assistance? One of the best ways to add value and stand out from the competition is to have superior customer service. Customers often make choices between parity products and services based on the perceived “customer experience.” This is what they can expect to receive in the way of support from your company after a sale is closed. Top-flight customer service on all sales will help you build repeat business, create positive word-of-mouth and increase sales from new customers as a result.
F) Launch multicultural programs. It may be time to add a multilingual component to your marketing program. For example, you might offer a Spanish-language translation of your Web site or use ethnic print and broadcast media to reach niche markets. Ethnic audiences will appreciate marketing communications in their own languages. Bilingual customer service will also go a long way toward helping your company build relationships with minority groups.
G) Visit the trenches. For many entrepreneurs, particularly those selling products and services to other businesses, it’s important to go beyond standard sales calls and off-the-shelf marketing tools in order to build relationships with top customers or clients. When was the last time you spent hours, or even a full day, with a customer-not your sales staff, but you, the head of your company? There’s no better way to really understand the challenges your customers face and the ways you can help meet them than to occasionally get out in the trenches. Try it. You’ll find it can be a real eye-opener and a great way to cement lasting relationships.