Part 1 of the “Business relationships series”: The important steps for making, keeping and strengthening business relationships so your company can thrive.
Turning prospects into customers — and ecstatic customers at that — is the holy grail of small and medium-sized businesses. Building a customer base from scratch is hard, but with the right strategies, you can turn a snowball into an avalanche pretty quickly.
Building strong business relationships — with customers, referral sources and suppliers — is essential for modern businesses to succeed.
Here are some key tips for converting strangers into loyal customers:
1. Have sales and marketing work in sync
It’s more important than ever for these two teams to work side-by-side. Not all customers have the same buying journey, so the sales team needs marketing’s support to be efficient and flexible. At the same time, marketing efforts need to be proactive and able to build customer relationships at different speeds.
2. Don’t drop the sales ball
It’s also important that, after all the hard work to make new contacts, create leads and get positive brand equity, that your team doesn’t drop the ball during the sales process. This can happen, even unintentionally, if you aren’t managing your lists to reach out to contacts, start the conversation or follow-up at the right times.
But more importantly, remind your Sales team that building relationships is key to long-term success. While they may have a short-term quota, it’s critical to get to know the contact.
3. Set goals around building relationships
The prospect’s experience with your reps needs to be of the highest quality, not only to convert them into customers but also to set up high expectations of what doing business with you will be like.
Set internal goals around the customer experience and SLAs around response time and quality of follow-ups, so that you can hold your team accountable for building relationships. Encourage team members to meet objectives through gamification, bonuses and regular reviews.
4. Mine useful customer data — and use it effectively
Invest in software that will enable you to identify and track your potential customers and deliver insights that you can quickly and successfully act upon. This information can be used by the sales team to understand how close each prospect is to becoming a customer, and how best to move them along that journey.
5. Get personal
Make interactions personal, based on what you’ve discovered about the prospect. This customizes their experience, makes your interactions more meaningful and will encourage them to take the next step.
6. Deliver real value before asking for anything
Provide prospects with something of real value well before they become customers. This could either be a piece of useful and actionable advice, a valuable referral, a customer story that fits your prospect’s situation, or a white paper that addresses one of their main concerns.
By constantly providing value, you’ll set your company up as trustworthy, an expert in your field and worthy of your prospect’s business.
7. Check in with prospects frequently
Stay top-of-mind by keeping in touch with prospects regularly. But don’t just send them a generic email. Find out if there are any key issues they’re going through and, as per the previous tip, and deliver something valuable.
At Liquid Capital, we’re business owners, too. We understand what challenges our clients are facing and the importance of evolving their businesses in the new normal. While we’re dedicated to helping our clients out with their financing needs, we also get to know them and understand their business opportunities, so we can work out how to be the most useful partners.
We have a versatile, unique range of financing solutions, such as invoice factoring, that suit many sizes and types of businesses. Get in touch today to find out how we can help and how much working capital we can provide your business.