For the last article in this series on relationships, we’ll look at building relationships with customers. In building these relationships, there are three aspects that I feel are of utmost importance to nurture and develop. These are listening, communicating, and being a resource. In my experience, these aspects are keys to creating new relationships and further developing existing ones.
Listening is a major key in any relationship. Whether that relationship is with a significant other, in a job setting, in a parent-child situation, business, or friendship, listening is fundamental. When dealing with a customer, listening is always a must, especially at the beginning. Listening from the beginning allows your customers time to speak, and walk you through their vision, as you get an opportunity to learn about their wants, needs, and desires. Listening also gives you a chance to see how far they have come in the process and provides you with an opportunity to plug the gaps that they see and discover those that they don’t. By listening, you put yourself in the driver’s seat, learning about your customers, and gathering information to help bring their visions to life.
The second phase of building a strong relationship with your clients is through communication. Communication, in this regard, is not just talking to your client but keeping in touch with them. Whether you communicate with them by phone, email, text, social media, or in-person does not matter. What matters is that your customers know you are around, they know they can find you, and you have made it clear to them that they are a priority to you. Communicating is key to helping them remember you when they require your services, when someone asks them for a referral, or if they have a question. Regularly connecting keeps you front of mind and relevant to their needs. I can’t tell you how many times I have reached out to someone, just to check-in, to hear them say, “I’m glad you called.” Now I can’t say how often you should communicate, but I honestly believe that the less salesy your conversation is, the more welcome it will be.
Next is being a resource for your customer. This aspect has had such an impact on our client relationships that I can’t emphasize it enough. When you are a resource for those you serve, those you serve will always remember you. When your client calls you with a question, don’t tell them where they can find the answer. Go find the answer and give it to them. Position your clients to feel like when they have a problem that you will have or find the solution, and you will be on your way to becoming their go-to. For example, in some instances, I have been able to position myself so firmly as a resource that clients have reached out to use me as a sounding board for other aspects of their business. In cases like these, you may very well want to suggest where they might find the answer, but if it has to deal with apparel decoration, your goal is to be the only call they make.
Now to take that last section and really try to bring it home, I want to refer to the Law of Preeminence. Your goal is to become your customers’ most trusted advisor—to act, advise, and counsel in their best interest. By being the one who is continually giving them value and working in their best interest, providing recommendations and suggestions, pointing them in the right direction, and providing services that help their vision come to life, you will be noticed, appreciated, and highly regarded as you continue to establish and position yourself as the only call they need to make.
Well, decorators, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing with you, and I hope you have been able to find something of value within this series. Best wishes in ’21 and beyond!