- Business relationships are built on the same things as personal relationships: trust, time, respect, and laughter.
- Tools like communication, generosity, and social media can make building relationships much easier.
- As you educate your customers, offer help, and ask for feedback, you’ll see your customers happily coming back because of the relationship you’ve built.
When we think of business, we are often focusing on the numbers and sales and strategies. But a huge part of business is our relationships, most importantly our relationships with clients. As you build these relationships, you take customers from simply buying once to becoming a regular consumer of your products and services. As you form relationships, these are some key things you should keep in mind.
How Relationships Are Formed
One of the first things to know about your business relationships is how they are formed. First and foremost, your customers and clients have to like you. It’s great if they admire and respect you, but the bare minimum requirement is that they like you. We don’t buy things from people or companies we don’t like and the same is true of your clientele.
Along with that, there has to be mutual respect. Companies can no longer view their customers as simply a way to make money. As you create your ideal target customer or your customer avatar, how do you find yourself feeling about that imaginary person? If you don’t like them, you won’t market and sell to them in a way that shows respect. Respect their intelligence, their freedom to choose, and their willingness to give you their hard-earned money.
Another key part of any relationship is quality time. As your customer spends more time with your company through their purchases or interactions, they will develop a relationship with you. Make sure those interactions are as positive as possible, with quick response times and friendly customer service.
Think about your close family and friend relationships. Chances are that you regularly laugh with the people who you’re closest to. Incorporating humor in your company and your interactions with customers can help build the relationship and add a new facet to it.
Tools To Develop Relationships
There are many ways you can build the relationship, but of those there are a couple tools that you can use to connect with your customers. One of them is generosity. While this could also be described as a way relationships are formed, the act of generosity itself can be a valuable tool. Offering deals and discounts, especially to returning customers, can quickly strengthen a relationship and bring a customer back for another purchase.
Another tool you have at your disposal is communication. Emails and texts are a great way to connect on a more personal level with your customers. As you have these interactions, as long as they are full of valuable content, your customer will learn who you are as a brand and a business. With that, they will gain an appreciation for you and respect for the company. That’s a sure path to them supporting you, especially in the harder times.
One of the most important tools that any business has is social media. There are dozens of platforms that you can be present on and it’s an excellent way to interact with your customers in a less formal or sales-oriented way. They will simply get the chance to get a sense of your brand personality and if you match the same personality as your target customer, you’ll likely draw those people in.
Along with knowing how relationships are formed with your customers and keeping in mind some tools to build those relationships, there are some final tips that can accelerate your relationship building. One of those tips that is often recommended is to offer help before asking for it. If you walked up to a stranger asking for help, they might help you if they are in a giving mood, but there’s a very defined line they won’t be willing to cross. Compare that to your friends and family who you’ve helped many times before. In a time of distress, they will be very likely to help you because you’ve helped them in the past. The same is true of your customers. Offering deals and discounts will solidify the relationship so if your business hits a couple bumps in the road, they will jump to your aid.
A great practice to get into is asking your customers for feedback. This can be scary for any business owner. No one enjoys being critiqued because it can be painful, but with that, you’ll learn what you can change for a better outcome. You’ll also gain valuable insight into what you’re doing well and what your customers respond to. In knowing that, you can repeat it to better target your ideal customer.
Finally, you have to ignore the impulse to sell, sell, sell. In today’s world, customers are tired of constantly being sold something. Instead, you should be educating your customers. By creating content that answers questions your customers have and educating them on why your product or service is better, you’ll bring in more traffic and work to develop that relationship, even with people who aren’t necessarily ready to buy right now. When they’re ready in the future, they’ll remember that you answered their question and come back for more answers before finally choosing to address their problem with your products and services.
Relationships make our lives richer and fuller. As you develop business relationships, it can make your professional life just as rich and full as your personal life. Along with that, developing relationships means you’ll keep customers buying from you and attract new customers using these tips. As you focus on maintaining and committing to the relationships you form with your customers, your business will thrive and your brand will grow.