Routinely delivering outstanding service and solutions will earn long-term loyalty from clients.
A long-term business relationship must be grounded in honesty. Making promises you’re not sure you can deliver on or fudging the truth and getting caught can obliterate your creditability and send a customer racing to a competitor – even after years of otherwise exemplary service. “First and foremost, we are always honest about what we can do – and what we cannot do – with all of our clients,” says Danette Gossett, owner of Gossett Marketing (asi/212200).
After you’ve worked with a client for a bit, it can be easy to fall into complacency. Don’t let that happen. Contentedness is tantamount to taking a client for granted. Up your energy during each sales opportunity. Put forth the same considerate, engaged, consultative effort that you used to first win clients’ business. Talk to customers about their particular goals for each event, campaign or initiative. Ask questions that enable you to thoroughly understand their needs. Offer original product and branding suggestions, and stay on top of their calendars so you can contact them with ideas before they even think to reach out to you.
Key in on Communication:
Good communication is the essence of sales. So, at the outset of each order, clearly explain to clients what they can expect in terms of product, imprinting, packaging, delivery and total costs. Confirm that they understand everything you’re saying. Remember, few things derail a business relationship quicker than negative surprises.
Additionally, if you have a meeting or dialog with a customer, always follow it up with an email that summarizes the essentials of the discussion and what the next steps will be. This keeps everyone on the same page and helps orient the client. Also, if a client emails, texts or leaves a voice message with a question, respond as fast as possible – let, at most, no more than a couple hours go by. In today’s world, it’s outdated to think that you have a 24-hour window to respond. You don’t. Even if you lack an immediate answer to the client’s question, send them a response acknowledging that you take their query seriously and that you’re working to get them an answer. Give them a definite time when you’ll follow up with more information, and then surpass the expectation by contacting them in advance of that.
Keep Cool & Collected:
You probably run through a gauntlet of stressors on a daily basis. Still, you can’t let that strain spill over into your demeanor. Through your in-person, email and phone interactions with clients, you must remain even keeled, presenting your best self – the helpful partner who initially won their confidence and who faithfully provides marketing power for their business.
Maintaining your professional persona is especially important when, despite your best efforts, something goes awry on an order. It’s crucial to stay collected, apologize for the trouble, think calmly so you can come up with a winning solution, and clearly communicate with the client about how the roadblock can be navigated around. Do that, and you’re in a strong position to enhance your standing with the customer, encouraging continued loyalty.