All relationships in life thrive off of respect, listening, communication and follow-through. When we look at our current and potential customers as valued relationships instead of simply transactions it cultivates trust and opens doors for more conversation. Utilizing Relationship Marketing can boost customer loyalty by cultivating deeper relationships because you truly know their needs and can provide impactful solutions to reach their goals.
Business Directory defines Relationship Marketing as:
“Marketing activities that are aimed at developing and managing trusting and long-term relationships…”
We take time to teach the importance of building relationships with current and potential clients because we see the immense value it brings. Here are some focus points on utilizing Relationship Marketing to increase B2B business:
Respect – Get Serious About Being Customer Focused
Start with asking one important question: is your organization more service/product-focused or customer-focused? When we respect our customers we appreciate their industry knowledge and want to give them solid solutions. While you should still value and protect your staff, your target audience’s interest should carry a lot of weight in your decision making. When customers know you have their best interest in mind, they will feel respected and in turn, give you their trust.
Communication – Finetune Messaging
Understanding and meeting your customers where they are is a critical part of Relationship Marketing. Everyone communicates differently. A technique Ernie Dimalanta, CEO of Dimalanta Design Group, uses is the Mirror Effect. The Mirror Effect mimics someone’s preferences, styles and tone in a way that helps then feel most at ease. If a client or prospect likes to get down to the nitty-gritty bullet points right away, do so and skip the small talk. If they are friendly and personal then take the time to first ask more personal questions like how their week is going. Also, don’t skip over practical steps such as researching what platforms your customer prefers and utilize them. In doing so, potential customers will be able to interact with your brand.
Listening – Maintain A Two-Way Relationship
B2B relationships need to be constantly improving. Listening to your current customer’s feedback using open-ended questions will help understand their ever-changing needs. Be willing to take the time to understand and address their fears, goals and yearnings. When they see you are avidly trying to improve the relationship, they will be more likely to trust your advice.
Follow Through – Retaining Current Customers
There has to be a balance between seeking new customers and maintaining the relationships you have already built. It’s the customers that keep coming back that are doing the heavy lifting for your business. Look at this research conducted by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company …they found that with as little as a five percent increase in customer retention the result is an increase in company revenue by 25-95%. Focusing on maintaining current customer relationships means that you are dependable and following through on what you say you are going to do, whether that’s hitting deadlines on campaigns or proposals.
You will be able to tell (rather quickly) if your business is Relationship Marketing focused or product/service focused. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses surrounding Relationship Marketing will help you fine-tune your communications, maintain positive relationships and cultivate new profitable ones.