Building Client Relationships

Building and strengthening client relationships is critical. Some people feel like they can get more attention from a salesperson calling than they get at home because maybe they feel like this person’s listening, paying attention and then asking about it.

David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today’s episode, co-host Jay McFarland and I will be discussing strengthening client relationships. Welcome back.

Jay: Hey, David, once again. It’s great to be here and I think that this is another really, really important topic. The key word for me is relationships. I think that oftentimes you see people with a business model who want to “turn ’em and burn ’em,” so to speak, and they don’t think about that word, relationships and how important it is.

David: Yeah. And very often, even if they don’t intend to do it, the tendency among many salespeople is to get in there, make the sale, move on, get to the next one, get to the next one, get to the next one. And when it happens this way, it’s very difficult to really maximize the value of those relationships in terms of dollars, but also just in terms of the relationship itself.

When you do that, when you just get in there, you sell something and then you move on to the next one, you’re not really building and nurturing a relationship, which is critical if you don’t want to have to constantly replace the clients that you’re losing because you’re not maintaining those relationships in the first place.

Jay: Yeah, absolutely. And the other thing is that there is for most companies a customer acquisition cost. And so if you’ve already paid that cost to get that customer, well, that goes away if you can build a relationship and they continue to use you. That to me is just such an important approach.

If you’re just doing it one at a time, you’re going to pay that cost every single time, and it’s going to lower your profit margins.

David: I completely agree, and people talk about that sort of thing all the time. We all know that it costs a whole lot less to resell an existing customer than it does to find and sell a new customer.

We all know it intellectually, but it is rarely practiced as well as it could be and should be within most businesses. You know, an analogy that helped me a lot was when I realized that when we’re building a client base, it’s a little like building a brick wall. You know, you get that first brick in place and then you get the next brick in place and the next brick in place, right?

So your first year in business, you’ve got this sort of layer of bricks. These are each of the initial customers that you brought in. And then, your second year in business, if you’re able to maintain all the customers you brought in the first time, then you can add on, you can layer in another layer of bricks, another layer of customers, and then your third year you can build in a third level and you can continue to grow it like that.

And eventually you’ve got this great monolith of exceptional clients who continue to pay you money on an ongoing basis. But the problem is that we are not able to retain those customers. You get a crack in that, one of the bricks disappears from the first level, then your second year in business, you’re starting out by plugging the holes.

You have to replace those missing customers. And so everything takes a lot longer. You’re essentially reconstructing your customer base, and a lot of it is unnecessary if we would just focus on strengthening and maintaining those client relationships.

Jay: Yeah, and there’s several ways to do that, right?

Phone calls, emails, drip campaigns from your customer management system. There’s a lot of ways to do that. But I got to tell you, you know, as somebody who’s on the phone all day long doing sales, when I already know that person and they know me, it’s just easier all the way around.

I mean, it just feels so good when I call ’em and they’re like, “Hey Jay, how’s it going?” Instead of, “what do you want?” You know, “I don’t have time for you.” It doesn’t just affect your sales, I think it affects your peace of mind, right? To work with customers who know you and like you, and know you provide a good service. That’s just a great feeling and it really helps motivate you, I think, to move forward.

David: Yeah, and so much of it is a mentality issue. If we go into that call with the idea of “I want to sell this person something.” With every single call, then that’s not going to build and strengthen the relationship. Sometimes those calls are just designed to find out how they’re doing, what they need, what they’re struggling with, how the last thing that we sold them worked out for them, what’s working for them, what’s not working for them. Because those are the types of things that many salespeople never bothered to do.

They’re just so busy, as you indicated, just sort of churning and getting from the next customer to the next customer, to the next customer that they miss out on, okay, well what happened with that order? What happened with that thing you bought from me? Did that work out well? Are there things that could have been done better?

If you’re buying something for me, and this is particularly true in the promotional products industry, where sometimes people will buy promotional items and we’ll contact them back and say, Hey, how did that promotion go? And they say, you know what? It’s still here in a box by my desk. We haven’t given them out yet.

Well, that’s not going to get the job done, right. Not only is that not going to get you a reorder, it’s not going to get them whatever result they wanted from buying that product in the first place. And so those are the types of things that need to be corrected.

So very often, what I recommend for my clients is that when there is follow up, effective follow up on a sale, it’s not just about, are you out of the thing you bought for me yet, and do you want to buy more? It’s about how did that go? What might have worked better? What other alternatives could and should we consider? Because that’s the type of thing that allows them to recognize that we’re actually trying to solve a need for them.

We’re trying to solve a problem as opposed to just providing them more and more stuff.

Jay: Yeah, I love this concept. Something as simple as a follow up call to say how did that work out? And if it didn’t, help educate them on how they could do it better and come up with strategies together to make it work, and not make it sound like I’m just pressuring you for more product.

I think that that builds a powerful relationship. And maybe they don’t need more product right now. But because you’ve taken the time to do that, it’s one of the things I love about your brick wall concept is you may not even be calling the first layer right now.

But you’re going to get surprise orders from them that you weren’t expecting because they’re starting another campaign or whatever. So it stops being just when I call, I get an order. And starts being this constant income stream from all of these relationships that I’ve built over time. And that’s a lot less work, right?

David: It is a lot less work, yes. And one of the things that we focus on in our Total Market Domination course with our clients is the idea of creating value in every communication with a prospect or client.

So if somebody bought from you previously, when we’re reaching out to them, it’s not just about asking for the order. It’s about creating value and asking yourself a question, how can I create value in my next communication?

Whether it’s an email or a text, or a phone call. Not just the idea of “checking in” or “seeing how you’re doing,” but being able to say something that will actually create some value for them in terms of an idea, a thought they didn’t have, a concept they hadn’t considered before.

Something that allows them to think, “oh wow, that’s great. I hadn’t thought of that.” And then for a lot of people, Potentially automating that sort of thing. And that’s another one of the things that we get involved with in our program, is allowing our people to create, set up drip campaigns that are designed to create value for the prospects and clients, even when we’re not physically in front of them.

Because too often, one of the reasons that follow up doesn’t happen is, oh, well I don’t have time. I’m too busy. I’m distracted. Right? I’m busy dealing with other clients.

But when you are able to. Create value in your communications and potentially stack that value in the form of messages that are going out on an ongoing basis to create value for the specific purpose of creating value for those customers. It creates a level of loyalty that most people never see.

Jay: Yeah, absolutely. And I also think, you know, when you talk about value in emails, I know from my own personal experience, going through all the emails we get, and let’s be honest, we get so many emails. When they’re just like, “Hey, we’ve got a special on this.” I’m like, “delete.”

But when for example, if I got an email saying, here’s a promotional product success story, right? Something like that, to me I would be much more likely to read that if I rely on promotional products. Because I know that’s going to help me. And educate me a little bit.

So we try that in every one of our drip campaigns as well. We’ve got to have something more than just a price point or a sale, something valuable that will draw them in. And also, I think it helps them know that you care, you want to educate them. So again, it changes that relationship. So, so important.

David: And when we think about the idea of building relationships or strengthening relationships, obviously it involves communication. Business relationships are very much like personal relationships. So it requires communication.

And sometimes we can even build into our nurture campaigns, our follow up campaigns. Messages that are just designed to open a conversation. It could be something as simple as sending out a message saying what do you have going on this week?

Something like that, an open-ended question that somebody might actually reply to, to get you engaged in conversation. Let the person know you’re thinking about them and maintain that relationship.

Jay: Yeah, and I also, you know, some of the relationships, the business relationships that I have, Would consider my top tier? I know about their families. I know about their lives. I know about how their business is going.

And it’s not like I pried, it’s just every time I call, it’s just, Hey, how’s everything going? And people will automatically, they’ll tell you. Well, it was a tough week because this happened and this happened.

And if I’m making notes on that and things like that, then the next time we follow up I’m like, “so how is that going?” You know, those types of things go so far in taking that relationship to the next level.

And even then, the really top tier clients, I would say, Hey, let’s get together for dinner sometime. And at dinner we don’t talk business, we get to know each other. We talk family, we do those kind of things.

So relationship really means something. It has strong value. And if you can find ways to build that, those relationships could last the entire time of your business ,right? And just go on and on.

David: Yeah, no question. And one of the important keys to that, I think, is recognizing that in personal relationships, we very often will pick up the conversation right where we left off the last time. There are probably people you know, you might not have seen them in years and years and years, and as soon as you see ’em, you can just pick up on that conversation right away.

We want to be able to do the same thing In business. In business, we usually accomplish that with our contact management system. You enter the appropriate notes in there about what you talked about so that you can reference that conversation.

That sort of thing builds relationships, calling people and just saying, what do you want to buy next? Not so much.

Jay: Yeah, I totally agree with you and I take notes on everything, any interaction with a customer, not just what they’ve ordered, but what they’ve said during that conversation. and I want to point out, people may be hearing this and saying, well, it’s kind of mechanical and you’re keeping notes on them and when you call back you’re just, responding or asking those questions because you only want the sale.

I have found just the opposite. They become friendships. And when they become a friendship, now there’s no way they’re going to go to somebody else. I mean, when I was in radio, I had people who said, “I am only using Jay for our ads.”

And it was because I worked very hard to establish that relationship and we were friends. We were not clients or business partners. We were absolute friends. And if you can reach that goal, then that’s going to last forever, you know?

David: Yeah, exactly. And it takes the same kind of thing. I mean, the same things that go into a personal relationship should go into our best business relationships.

Jay: Yeah.

David: And if you’ve got perfect memory and you don’t have to make notes or write things down, then knock yourself out. For most of us, particularly if you’re dealing with a lot of people, the notes help because you can pick up that conversation. You can know that they will be on the same page.

You know, another analogy to this is if you’re making a number of calls a day and that person isn’t, they have one person to remember, you. And you’ve got a dozen people to remember.

So if you’re able to make those notes and pick up those conversations right where you left off, it just creates a sense of relationship that you will not have if you are not able to do that.

Jay: Yeah. And the other thing is, it plants in their mind, this guy was listening to me last time. Right? And so that tells them, that sends a message that you cared enough to remember those things.

And you know, I ‘ve had that experience and I’m like, “wow, we talked six months ago and you still remember all that stuff.” You know, that tells me you care.

David: Exactly. Some people feel like they can get more attention from a salesperson calling than they get at home because maybe they feel like this person’s listening, paying attention and then asking about it.

It doesn’t always happen as well as it should in personal relationships. Same thing in business. But in business, there’s something very simple you can do about it. Just take the notes and pick up the conversation where you left off.

Jay: Yeah, I love that. David, how can people find out more?

David: Well, you should go to Schedule a call with our team so we can help you try to figure out where you are now, where you’re looking to be. If you’re looking to strengthen your client relationships, we can help you with everything from sequencing your communications to doing that kind of thing on automation.

We help our clients to create the results they’re looking for. And so if you’d like to have a conversation, we’d love to have it with you. Just go to that URL and we’ll talk to you soon.

Jay: Well, I have loved this conversation, David. Thank you so much.

David: Thank you, Jay.

Are You Ready to Build Client Relationships Designed to Last?

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