by W. Michael Hsu
While many business leaders are content to sit at their desk waiting for the phone to ring, in today’s competitive business environment, you must begin thinking differently in order to grow (or retain) your client or customer base. This doesn’t mean changing your service offerings; it means spending time on the prospect-client relationship itself. Below are three tips to help you do just that.
In a time when texting, email and online meetings are common, you need to find ways to make things personal. Remember, it is almost always a P2P (people to people) relationship before it’s a B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to client) relationship.
Entrepreneurs tend to love chasing after new wins. That being said, sometimes we need to be reminded to maintain relationships with the people we already do business with.
Carve out the time needed to step outside your world and into theirs. Is your client or customer in a different town, city, or state? Fly there. They are worth it. There is no better way to build a personal relationship than meeting in person, listening to their stories and engaging in a way that email and social media can facilitate but not replace.
Go the distance.
In the world of tech, speed, and instant gratification, my generation of entrepreneurs is constantly tempted by the idea of that knockout sale or glamorous overnight success – sometimes so much so that we forget to go the distance and understand their motivation.
Simply doing our job isn’t enough. We must go a step further to learn about our customer’s goals and how we can best assist in meeting them. Remember, your clients or customers never just want a website, an accountant or a power drill. There are bigger goals behind each of these tools: increased sales, more insights about their business, or maybe a tree house for the kids.
If you know what your customer’s goals are, it is easier to sell them something they actually need, rather than something they will buy just once that may not improve their lives. If you give them what they really want, you will become much more than just another vendor.
Feel their pain.
Humans are emotional. Even though we’d like to think that every emotional connection we make with our customers is positive, there are plenty of occasions where that is simply not the case. Don’t fret, though, because a negative emotional connection can also be good for business if you know what you are doing.
Clients and customers typically come to us for two reasons: potential gain and the removal of existing pain. You’ll get an earful when you learn about their aspirations, but you’ll also have to use your intuition to source whatever else is going on. Dig deep and understand what’s really bothering them, and then take it away.
Think painkillers that take away headaches versus vitamins that keep you healthy. Leverage both principles, and you’ll add more value to your customers.
Sure, in some cases you’ll lose a prospect or customer based on factors that are out of your control. However, by building solid relationships and doing what you can to discover goals and pain points, you will find and retain more business.
W. Michael Hsu is the founder and CEO of DeepSky, a company that acts as the in-house accounting department for one to ten million-dollar service companies. With knowledgeable accountants, best practice processes, and carefully selected technology, DeepSky helps entrepreneurs obtain, understand, and then internalize critical business numbers to help move the needle.