By Rich Webb…
Research shows that confidence and familiarity are the primary factors in a prospect’s decision to purchase—or to refer and recommend you to someone else. The other motivators, in order of importance, are quality, selection, service and coming in last, price.
If your prospects have confidence in you and familiarity with you or your product—It means you have the beginning of a relationship. Relationships with potential customers are built on a sense of familiarity and the confidence or trust that you care about them.
Your best opportunity to build a high level of confidence and familiarity is to start with those potential customers that have already demonstrated they have some trust in you. That means communicating regularly with your existing and past customers/prospects early and often.
But you should also communicate early and often with prospects who make enough of a commitment to you that they are willing to give you their contact information. When you respond with something of value and interact with them you have established a small, shared commitment.
A small, shared commitment is the beginning of a relationship. And a small, shared commitment that is nurtured will lead to a larger commitment and a purchasing relationship of trust.
Almost all customer relationships can be developed into stronger and more loyal relationships with repeated contacts that demonstrate you care more about the customers long-term, well-being than you do about getting an immediate sale. This means delivering valuable, relevant information, opportunities or offers with each contact.
The easiest and highest-potential place to begin is with customers that have just purchased your product.
“But they just bought our product. I don’t think they are going to buy again for some time.”
Absolutely not true.
Again, research proves that the time customers are ‘most likely’ to make an additional purchase is within 30 days of their first purchase. This is also the time they are most likely to give you a referral.
Maybe instead of trying so hard to ‘close the sale’ we should be putting our efforts into ‘opening the relationship’.
Most companies fail to realize the full potential of their customer base and do not follow up with them soon enough or often enough. They don’t invest enough effort into building a ‘relationship’. In almost every company there is an opportunity for significant sales increases by strengthening customer relationships.
Is your company doing as well as it should with your existing and past customers?
One of the greatest secrets of building profitable, long-term customer relationships is so simple that it is constantly ignored by many organizations. They not only ignore it because it is so simple, but because it takes discipline to accomplish it and because it is boring.
That’s right. Because it is boring. Companies throw good money right down the toilet because they get bored.
What is the simple secret?
Continuous, unrelenting, follow-up to your customers. And continuous follow-up is not very interesting or exciting to owners, managers or staff.
But the follow-up must be undertaken with the customer’s needs in mind. When a customer first makes contact with you and decides to make a purchase, it is because that customer has developed a trust and belief in your ability to serve his or her needs—as well as to provide solutions to their specific problems. In their eyes, you are a respected guide, a knowledgeable authority, a person or company to be trusted.
Following a sale to your customer you have two choices. You can work to maintain that respect and trust, or you can let it fade from lack of attention. If it fades you will probably lose a customer. Not because you did something wrong, but just because of lack of attention.
Guess what most companies end up doing?