When you’re running your own business and are relying on daily profits, it can be tempting to use every opportunity to talk about the products and services you offer and to rush potential clients into sales. However, nobody likes pushy salespeople, and the benefits of this approach are usually short-lived.
Successful business people have excellent networking skills and take their time with each potential customer to truly get to know them. Instead of diving in for the close, they shift their priorities towards the client’s actual needs. They become an advocate for their clients rather than just the guy who talked them into buying a car that is way too big or a vacuum cleaner that blew their budget.
If you want to supercharge your sales, ensure long-term profits and repeated business, try to add value to your customer relationships. Instead of rambling on about the benefits of your products that may be awesome, but not what people need, engage them in in-depth conversation, build up trust and accept that you may not have a solution to their problem.
Try offering choices, share your knowledge and admit if you haven’t got what they’re looking for. By doing so, rather than pushing them into buying just anything, you are keeping their interests at heart and will make them feel valued. Often this will lead to future business through word of mouth, referrals and positive feedback on social media.
Once you become an advocate for your clients the same will happen the other way around. Happy customers or business associates will become your biggest supporters and help keep your business running.
Customer service is everything
If you want to outdo the competition, you need to provide a better customer service experience. A recent analysis by US management consulting firm Bain & Company has shown that businesses providing excellent customer experiences grow revenues up to 8% more compared to the rest of the market.
One way of achieving better customer advocacy is to have a good customer service system in place. That goes for phone, email and live chat support as well as feedback received on social media. Sometimes you can do your best and it’s still not good enough, but if you catch complaints fast enough and respond in a professional manner you can still turn bad news into good news. According to research undertaken by Entrepreneur Asia Pacific customer advocacy can grow by up to 20% if you address social media complaints.
Tools of the trade
Business networking events are a great way to get exposure for your business and, if used appropriately, can work to your advantage without coming across like a profit-driven, pushy salesperson.
These tips will help you build and maintain customer relationships and ensure that you continue to advocate for your clients. We are members of a BNI group and find it valuable for maintaining contact with the local business community.
Grow your network.
Each person you talk to can potentially lead to new referrals, clients or business partners.
- Be visible – Put yourself out there. The more people know about you and your business the more likely they are going to interact with you in the future which in turn will help grow your business.
- Stay up to date – If you want to create value for potential clients you need to know your audience as well as what’s happening in the market. This way you can offer them the right choices according to their needs.
- Be authentic – The more your clients can trust you, the more likely they are to purchase from you in the future and refer you to friends and family.
- Provide solutions – Helping potential clients is not always about making a sale. Sharing your knowledge and experience can be just as valuable and will help you achieve long-term success.