If given the choice, would you rather walk into an insurance agent’s office where you were greeted with a friendly hello and the staff called you by name when you paid your bill, or would you rather walk into an office where the staff acted as if accepting your payment was a waste of their time?
Most people want to do business with people they like. It is hard to like someone who makes you feel uncomfortable. However, if they feel that they are treated with kindness and feel that you are their friend or trusted advisor, they will feel that they have a relationship with you.
When you take the time to establish a relationship with a customer, you will notice that your customers become loyal to you. They will see you as the expert in your field. They wouldn’t think about doing business with anyone else.
Establishing relationships with people will take time. They don’t develop overnight. The following are some tips on creating relationships with your customers.
Offer your sincere help: Your customers are coming to you for a reason; they need your product or service. Instead of acting like you are doing them a favor by providing that product or service, offer them your most sincere “thank you”, and make sure you offer them your sincere help.
Instead of thinking about the things you will get for helping them, think about the things that they can accomplish with your help. If someone is just looking for advice, give them the answers they need.
Let them see the real you: Yes, it is important to present a professional image if you want to be taken seriously, but you don’t want to seem so professional that you intimidate your customers. Let them know that you are human and that you occasionally have a bad day or have a day where you wake up and the kids are sick and, from that point on, everything is off kilter. If people can see that you are “one of them”, your chances of a sale go up.
Communication: A key component of any relationship is communication. Keep your customers updated on a regular basis through your blog or website. If someone has recently purchased something from you and has a question or needs assistance, answer their email (or outsource this to a virtual assistant).
By implementing these practices into your business, you will see that your customers will feel appreciated and valued. They will also be more likely to send you referrals as they know how great you treat your customers.
Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.