We all know that it is much easier to generate more business from existing customers than it is to finding new clients.

There is truth in the 80/20 rule and statistics from Gartner Group reveal that 80% of a company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of its existing customers.

Customer retention costs are much lower than acquisition costs. 

Additionally, retaining customers contributes to revenue growth, improved profitability and high-value referrals.

Understanding these benefits, it is imperative that you coach and train your sales representatives on how to build stronger relationships with your clients.

Following are helpful tips to build client relationships and increase sales.

Focus on Engagement

In a hyper-competitive industry, relying only on your enthusiastic engagement with customers to help you strengthen relationships and increase sales won’t cut it.

People buy from people.

More importantly, people buy from people they like. They always have and they always will.

In personal selling, face-to-face interactions and phone calls are the most direct form of communication.

Periodic follow-up calls to clients show concern for their interests, while also allowing you to identify problems and potentially sell add-on products and services.

In the information age, engagement extends to sharing information via e-mail and social media as well.

Bain & Company found that customers spend 20 to 40 percent more with companies that engage them online.

Sellers must also listen to direct and indirect client feedback presented through these digital platforms.

Monitoring social conversations enables salespeople to contribute to positive interactions and reach out to customers when problems arise.

Get Feedback and Analyse Performance

To improve existing relationships with clients, find out what customers want and analyse your performance.

Regular surveys or research-based conversations help you learn what customers expect from you.

Just the fact that you invite feedback regularly can improve relationships.

Use internal and external studies to evaluate factors that impact relationships.

You can develop individual and team-based customer satisfaction ratings, for instance.

Gallup has a customer engagement metric, which you could use to see how well your salespeople are engaging your clients.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is valuable when determining relationship-building strategies.

Combine Technology with Personalisation

Coach and train your salespeople on how and why customer relationship management software helps them increase sales.

Some salespeople dread CRM because it takes time to input data and meeting notes.

The problem is that many view CRM as little more than a technological tool that is more important to the marketing function than selling.

In fact, salespeople gain greater personal insights about customers by tracking interactions.

They can refer to previous meeting notes before a call or visit. Also, marketing staff can generate more customised print and e-mail campaigns for ongoing communication with clients.

Arming customers with clear data on how your solutions help their business makes selling more like recommending something of value.

building-client-relationships-brand-engagement

Deliver Consistent Results

Warm conversation and a friendly smile go a long way towards strengthening client relationships.

However, the reality is people buy from you to fill a need or solve a problem.

Thus, you must consistently deliver quality products, relevant information and excellent service that all exceed expectations.

Unhappiness with products and customer services are among the main reasons customers leave, according to the Database Marketing Institute.

Therefore, delivery of differentiated products and responsive, accurate service are key to getting clients to value the relationship with your business and to increase sales.

Go the Extra Mile

It may sound a bit cliché, but doing something a customer values but doesn’t expect is powerful.

For instance, a software sales rep could make a personal visit to help with installation and support with a new, local client.

Even something as simple as introducing your prospect to one of your contacts on LinkedIn that may be an opportunity for them in the future can leave a great impression.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference.

This type of “Wow!” moment creates positive experiences which are essential to loyalty, stronger relationships, referrals and increased sales.

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

The best strategies to build stronger client relationships and increase sales blend technology are a listening attitude and a genuine interest in customer welfare.

Nowadays it is so easy to find out more about your prospects interests. Are they on LinkedIn?

Of course, they are, so like a post they shared, join a similar group and comment on a post, start a conversation on Twitter about a topic you both have an interest in.

Over time, you will build a stronger relationship with your clients.

 


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Photo via Flickr user: Insidethelab.