How to Develop Lasting Customer Relationships

By: Angela Huffmon
Posted: 02/14/2012

There are a number of companies trying to lure your customers away from your company. 

Your customers have so many options today that if you don’t have a strong relationship with them, you could lose them.  What tactics have you taken to develop a lasting relationship with your customers? 

There are several ways you can develop a relationship with them that will last a lifetime.

Conduct Educational Programs

You can hold your own educational quarterly for your customers.  These programs can help address some issues your customers may be facing.  This will allow you to advertise any new products or services your company offers.  If the program is designed as a true learning experience your customers will perceive it to be valuable and will want to attend every time you have it.  This means that your customers will not want to leave your company, as long as they receive services that are above and beyond.

Know Your Customer’s Business

If you’re in business-to-business sales, you need to fully understand your customer’s business.  Learn the vital terminology they use within the organization. 

Understand some of the barriers the business is up against. 

Know the changes that are happening in their industry. 

When you learn your customer’s business well and can speak their language you will be able to offer them services they truly need. 

You may even be able to design your service around the needs of your customers.  This will set your service apart from your competitors.

Develop a Personal Relationship with Decision Makers

Long lasting relationships are usually developed outside the office. 

Venturing out with your customers for dinner or a day of golf will help inspire personal conversations and form bonds.  Creating a personal attachment will form a friendship and a bond that neither of you will want to break. 

However, once you become friends don’t slack up on your customer service.  Many times, people don’t give the same high level of service to their “friends.”  As long as you continue to provide superb service you will have a customer and a friend for life.

Make Yourself Available

Almost anyone can create a short-term relationship with customers. 

Most amateur salespeople will make themselves available to their potential customers.  However, once that customer is sold, the salesperson usually moves on to the next potential customer.  If you want to develop a lasting relationship with your customers, make yourself available to them.  It may not be your job to service the customers, however when your customers are having a problem, get them to the specific person or department that will fix the problem. 

Don’t just give them an 800 hundred number and hang up. 

Make sure to follow-up later to see if the problem has been resolved.  Be proactive with customers you’ve sold.  Taking care of them will ensure they will want to stay with you and your company.

Stay in Regular Contact

Call or visit your potential and existing customers on a regular basis.  By consistently following up with your customers you will discover changes that have taken place within their organization.  By following up with your customers they will believe you truly care about their business.  You may reap the benefits by being able to offer additional services.  Your customers will begin to anticipate your visits and look forward to telling you of any new business developments.

One of the best ways to stabilize your business during economic downturns is to solidify relationships with your customers.

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