Part 2 of the “Business Relationships Series”: The importance of maintaining strong business relationships with your contacts and clients.
The way businesses attract customers has shifted forever. The old methods of marketing to catch a customer’s attention, getting them interested and having them make a purchase doesn’t happen in the same way anymore.
In Part 1 of the “Business Relationships Series” we looked at some key tips for turning prospects into customers. In this part 2 of our series, we’ll look at what to do now that you’ve landed a new customer—and ways to help you keep them as a customer.
Strong business relationships are like a good friend
Imagine for a moment this scenario in your personal life…
You’ve made a new friend and have a great connection—but then as soon as you hang out, maybe going for a round of golf or dinner at the newest restaurant in town, you stop calling and seeing them. Chances are, they probably wouldn’t be willing to help you when you call needing a ride to the airport or an extra hand when you move.
It’s a similar situation in business. One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is to neglect their current customer base. Doing so inevitably results in high churn and loss of customers—which can have a serious impact on your cash flow. Not only is it more expensive to bring in new clients to replace those you’ve lost, but you’re also missing an important opportunity to increase your sales.
You need to keep working to make sure your current customers (and referral sources, suppliers and other business contacts) are happy in your relationship. If you have a high churn rate, then it may be time to look at ways to strengthen your customer and contact base.
Here are four tips to get you started:
1. Offer an excellent product or service, with a best-in-class customer experience
Having a great offering is clearly a big advantage for both securing and keeping customers. However, the way you treat your customers is just as important as what you deliver to them. Ensuring that everyone in your company buys into the notion of providing an outstanding customer experience, and delivering the training and support to ensure they succeed, will set you apart from most of your competitors.
Not only will this strategy ensure that your customers stick with you, but it will also turn them into your biggest fans who will deliver quality referrals and help you to grow your business.
2. Put your customers first
Having a customer-first business strategy can really pay off and set you apart from your competitors. Listen to your customers, take their feedback into consideration and keep your brand promises. This could mean that you may need to invest extra working capital into your business, which can be a daunting thought if you’re already struggling to stay cash flow positive.
If you do find yourself in need of additional capital, consider leveraging an alternative funding solution, such as invoice factoring. Remember, investing in your customers may come with short-term costs, but the goodwill, trust and gratitude you will earn will bring dividends in the long term.
3. Be honest and authentic
Nothing will kill off a business relationship faster than little white lies or coming across as untrustworthy. Clients will smell it from a mile away and run for the hills. If there is a problem, own up to it, explain how it happened and, most importantly, describe in detail how you will put it right.
4. Help your customers become successful
Be a partner, not just a supplier. Use your experience and expertise to provide advice that will support them in growing their business. Help them to overcome problems, suggest new potential markets or introduce them to a valuable supplier or potential customer.
Just as with any personal relationship, most people want to work with others who provide genuine support and a mutually beneficial experience. Companies can nurture and strengthen their current customer base by providing valuable advice, ideas, contacts and encouragement. By being a trusted partner and resource, your customers will stick with you—and bring you referrals.
At Liquid Capital, we understand the importance of relationships and work to help provide you with the working capital you need so you can focus on your customers. Want to learn more about how we can help you and your clients? Contact us today.