Five Ways to Expand Customer Relationships

In today’s selling environment, it’s more critical than ever to have strong relationships with our clients. With increased competition, a wealth of available information and a hyper-focus on cost, we can hardly blame our clients for exploring their options.

Here are five ways we can expand relationships with our clients so we’re maximizing the value we bring to the equation.

1. Get to Know Everyone – Decisions today are made by groups of people. We’ve got to know as many key stakeholders as possible to win and grow the business. Ask how decisions are made and who is involved in the process. Continue to meet others, even after the business has been won.

2. Expand to strategic partners and vendors – Companies will partner with other organizations who think and operate in a similar manner. When asking for referrals, why not focus on how we can make an even bigger impact for our clients by helping to align their strategic partners and vendors? One of my clients in the homebuilding industry included their drywall and painting partner in a training engagement so they would interact with customers and each other in an aligned manner. It strengthened their partnership, their results and the customer experience.

3. Stay in front of the customer – It’s tough to manage our time in a way that allows us to obtain new customers while keeping existing customers engaged. However, the alternative is to move on and let others take complete responsibility for the customer experience. Doing so makes it much tougher to generate referrals, testimonials and win repeat business. Finding ways to stay in front of the customer in a timely and strategic manner means we’ll continue to strengthen the relationship and won’t have to start the sales process from scratch to win repeat business. Examples can be a quarterly lunch or bi-annual state of the business reviews.

4. Value Added Follow Up – Some of the best coaching advice I’ve ever received was from a VP of Sales who challenged me to create a list of 50 action items I could take to follow up with my customers in a way that would add value. Try it. It’s both easier and tougher than you think it will be. Once we realize that our traditional follow-up methods are focused on us instead of our customers, it’s easier to shift our mindset. It’s a chance to display our creativity and really test our understanding of our customers. Examples include sending a relevant article, dropping off a book, or giving a customer a referral.

5. Say Thank You – It’s a bit sad that we don’t do this enough, especially when we’re busy. However, we need to express our gratitude to customers. We should always genuinely thank them for their business, for their time when they meet with us and for the value they add to the relationship.

Focus on expanding relationships with your customers, and you will win more repeat business!  What other actions do you take to expand relationships? We’d love to hear from you!

To learn more about expanding your customer relationships and finding more customers, contact Brian Williamson at 630.258.8177 or bwilliamson@executivepartners.com.

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About Brian Williamson

I work with salespeople and leaders to get better results by taking a character-based approach. That means Executing by helping others Execute their priorities. I'm also the founder of Testimony & Tunes (www.testimonyandtunes.com) where everyday people share lessons learned through faith, and artists can share tunes that reflect their faith.

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