• Posted: Feb 19, 2016
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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, with the focus on lavishing affection on our nearest and dearest. It’s also an appropriate opportunity, however, to consider how we can build and nurture relationships with both our existing customers and our prospects.

Forge an emotional connection

People are most likely to do business with those with whom they feel comfortable. Prior to meeting your prospects, research them and their companies on Google.

When you can show a potential customer that you have knowledge about them and their business, making that emotional connection is so much easier. You immediately lay the foundation for a good working relationship.

Serve before you sell

All of us can relate to the experience of having an overzealous sales person put pressure on us to make a purchase. Instead of this approach, show your would-be customer that you are willing to make an investment and offer them value first.

Perhaps consider providing a free sample of your product or free trial of your service. This will generate good will and trust. It also demonstrates your 100% belief in your offering.

Deliver on your promise

With the startling growth of social media, companies that do not deliver on their customer commitments are now being taken to task publicly. Car manufacturer, VW is testimony to this, with the company recently having been unmasked as cheating on emission testing. The result is that VW’s share price has fallen dramatically and the brand’s relationship with consumers has been seriously damaged.

Today’s customer enjoys the power of the mouse. They will only reward and be loyal to those businesses that deliver on their promises. In today’s Internet connected environment, good business policy is to foster the relationship with a customer by rather under promising and over delivering.

Checking in

Our ability to nurture and grow our relationship with our customers is closely allied to our staying aware of their views and changing needs. Ensure that you receive regular input from your customers regarding the service you are providing.

Most often, you customers won’t tell you what you are doing wrong, so it may be a good idea to undertake professional customer research annually using a third party. This will provide you with objective feedback and will demonstrate to your clients that you value them.

Building relationships with both would-be and existing customers is an on-going but invaluable process. It is a sure fire way to cultivate loyalty and repeat purchase.