Improving Your Relationships with Your Clients
Business has always been something that benefits from a close professional relationship. A relationship like this can be challenging to accomplish, however, as it usually requires some deliberate and meaningful action by the business. There are some methods that you can use to encourage this kind of relationship between your clients and your business.
Some will require a concerted effort to leverage the data you hold within your business’ reserves, and others will influence the way you interact with your clients. Here, we will go over the many ways you can learn more about your clients and develop an improved relationship with them. Some will require some direct outreach to your clients, and others will need you to consciously make an effort to enact internal changes to your business processes.
First, we’ll review the internal tweaks you should make to encourage relationship building with your clients.
Use Social Media
If you aren’t already, you should be using social media as much as possible to present yourself to your clients on a consistent basis. Not only will this provide a greater opportunity for outreach, it opens your clients to the possibility of addressing you directly with comments and concerns, which you can address in a very public forum, proving your commitment to their satisfaction.
Nobody likes being kept waiting, especially when they have business to attend to, and even more so when they need your response before they can attend to that business. If a client reaches out with a technology issue that is covered in their service agreement on Monday, they shouldn’t have to wait until Thursday, Wednesday, or even Tuesday for a response. Addressing their need quickly will help you establish trust, which is key to any long-lasting business relationship. (We briefly touch on the importance of timeliness in this blog as well.)
Even if your message is only to confirm that you received theirs and you will attend to their issue as soon as you can, it is better than leaving them waiting. This will be appreciated, and remembered.
Send Real Value, Not Repetitive Verbiage
Take a look at the email correspondence you’ve sent to your contacts. Did they all offer some kind of real value, or are you basically spamming them after you’ve gotten their permission to reach out? Constantly sending a stream of ‘salesy’ messages will grow to be annoying, but if your emails are focused around education, chances are much better that your contacts may welcome them and associate you with the value you want. You may want to consider revising some of your other efforts to also match this offer of value.
Don’t Stop at Purchase
So, you just closed a deal. You’re done now, right?
Actually, you’re far from done. Why would you stop marketing to someone if your marketing worked well enough to convert them into a customer? In actuality, your clients are some of the best people to market to, as they have already seen you deliver one solution. Unless something has gone horribly wrong (and you didn’t redeem yourself through another effort), your new client should have no reason to leave your services--unless you let them forget about you.
Remaining in contact and offering your assistance reminds them that you are there, and not just to make a sale. You need to act as a service provider and provide them with service, the sale being just the start of that process. Plus, this opens you to the possibility of upselling them.
Don’t forget to pay attention to more than just the fact that people are responding to your efforts. You also need to identify why they are responding at one given point over another. Did you touch on a particular pain point in your marketing that you hadn’t yet mentioned in your campaign? Did you switch to a different format, or send them something a little different than what they may have expected? This knowledge will assist you in determining how your marketing should take shape in the future, and what is effective as compared to something that isn’t.
Reaching the Individual, Not the Institution
Of course, this is all still pretty generic stuff, and while it will help you to impress them on their business side, there is also the human side to consider. The business side of your client wants to make sure that you are delivering a sufficient return on their investment, the human side wants to be sure that they aren’t getting screwed over. To ensure this, you also need to get to know the personalities of your clients in addition to their business needs.
There are quite a few ways to make this happen as well.
Mingle at Events
Try to find out what events your targets frequent, and make appearances there yourself, either as a participant or as an attendee. This can give you some more casual facetime with them, out and away from the pressures of the office where they can open up, but still in a work-related environment so it is easier to stay on task. You also have the option to host an event or two yourself, sending them a personal invitation to come (more on personalizing things later).
Involve Your Company with the Community
While you’re considering the event circuit, don’t rule out participating in other, non-business-oriented community goings-on as well. Sponsor some charity events and/or participate as a team to help raise money for a cause. Not only is it good publicity, it shows that your company stands to do more than just make money. That’s powerful social proof itself, but only if you mean it.
The social benefits of sharing a meal are well-documented throughout history. Negotiations are made, treaties are signed, and alliances are forged over the dinner table. Studies have shown that simply sharing a meal is enough to get those around the table to agree on a topic much quicker, especially if they’re both eating the same food. So, next time you meet with a client or prospect, let them order first. They may not realize it, but eating what they eat will make a good impression.
Talk to Them, Not Your Whole Audience
As an MSP, your audience is made up of any of the businesses who meet the requirements you set for a potential client, as well as those you’ve signed on as clients already. However, in your marketing materials, your audience needs to be the one person reading or viewing it at any given moment.
You aren’t talking to the businesses of your area, or even their management. You’re talking to Kathy or Pete or Mary or Jim, each individual whose attention you’ve caught. Being professionally personable and relating back to their struggles as a part of a company--without focusing too much on the company as an entity--will help establish the connection you need to make to leave a lasting impression.
Finally, we come to the most important part of this very lengthy equation: communication. You and your contacts, whether they’re clients or prospects, need to have a clear understanding of each other’s position. While you may offer the most value in history, it’ll do you no good if you don’t communicate that to your audience. On the other hand, it also won’t matter how great your customer satisfaction levels are (or how poor they are) if you can’t gauge them in order to optimize your approach or to correct the problem.
Going back over the points that we’ve already reviewed, you’ll notice that all of them rely in some way on you and your contacts making contact in one way, shape, or form. The best way to accomplish this is to invite them in with your marketing, developing a relationship more than pitching a product or service.
JoomConnect can help you do this. By creating content that shares and intrigues more than it sells, we help you to cultivate the attention of your audience. As a result, they are more ready to take in your message and see your value as a solution provider, and a resource.
If you want our help with your marketing initiatives as well, reach out to us by calling 888-546-4384, or by clicking here!