Our business is about technology, yes. But it’s also about operations and customer relationships.
Doing business of any kind obligates you to establish and maintain relationships with your customers. The deeper your relationships, the better off you are because they become much harder to break.
The deep relationships I am referring to are those where your customers see you more as a friend than as a sales person and where you see your customers as more than just transactions. As relationships deepen, a trusting bond develops between the customer and the sales person. All great salespeople know these are the relationships that allow them to thrive.
Related Video: Building Customer Relationships
Of course you want to have deep relationships with your customers. However, it can be a precarious thing. Consider, for example, what happens when a sales person has deep relationships with their customers then he or she leaves the business. Once that tie is severed, the business is often lost as well.
As an example, a salesman I know had a great relationship with the procurement officer at a medium-sized company. Because of this relationship, the company purchased products almost exclusively from this one salesman. One day, however, the salesman called to speak with the procurement officer and was told he was no longer with the company. When he asked to speak to the new procurement officer, he was transferred to a voicemail and never heard back, even after multiple attempts to follow up.
I have seen the same thing happen many times with loan officers. A business will frequently have a great relationship with a loan officer. Because of the trust that exists between them, the business is able to get a loan or additional funds simply by making a phone call. However, all bets are off when that loan officer leaves. The new loan officer could see the company’s financial health in a whole different light and may cut back the amount of funding they offer the business.
You can often manage this risk by ensuring your relationships are both broad and deep. Having a broad relationship with a business means you have connections with many of their people so your ability to retain their business is not reliant on just one person. For example, a business should have relationships with multiple loan officers as well as the assistant to the loan officer.
One great sales person I know always tries to develop relationships with every person she meets from her customers’ businesses, no matter what his or her position. She tries very hard to ensure the relationships she has with her customers are both deep and broad.
Now go out and make sure your customer relationships are both deep and broad so you can ensure you will have their business for many years to come.
You can do this!
Published: January 26, 2015