7 Ways to Start a Relationship with a New Customer
In order to develop relationships with new prospects and turn those strangers into friends, you need to work at it and be real. This requires taking the necessary steps to help you gain their trust and turn those friends into customers. Here are seven tips that can help you with that.
1. Get to know them
You need to learn everything you can about prospects as people and their company. Spend the time to check out both the person and the company online. Check on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. Get to know them. From the company’s online presence, you should be able to pick up on the words used, its mission, vision and the image it is trying to project.
Try to get a sense of the person's beliefs and how they align with your own. Who are they and what do you have in common? What are their feelings about your message?
2. How will you make their life better?
It is all about them. If you can’t make their life better, why are you calling on them? What is the result you will deliver for them? Most likely they want more money, more sales, more customers and more profits, and less work and less stress. But don’t assume. Get very clear on your promise. Until you can get very clear and articulate about the transformation that you can offer them, you’re not ready to call on them.
3. Keep it real.
Assuming that you are a good person with ethics who really cares about other people, be that person. There is no place for old-school manipulation, pressure or guilting in building relationships. You should be able to feel good about what you’re about to ask for and the recommendations that you are making. Your new friend should also feel like it is the natural next step. People can spot a phony or a sleaze a mile away. Don’t be a phony or a sleaze.
4. Create value.
Don’t you hate this cliché? It’s the hard work, the counter-intuitive work that you need to be doing. How do you create value? You do it by giving away ideas. You do it by sharing ideas and best practices. When you leave your customer after a meeting, are they better off than when you showed up? Do they have something that they feel good about or that they can implement now? Have you left them wanting more? What’s the best tip you can share with them today that is going to make their life better now?
5. Be a storyteller.
Take them to a place with you where their problems go away. Learn how to tell stories. Stories engage both the brain and the heart, and give you an emotional connection. Stories allow them to get into the movie you are creating, and that allows imagination to move them along with you. There is something primal about a story. Become a talented storyteller and they will always want to hear more from you.
6. Make it easy to work together.
Consider from the other person's point of view what obstacles there might be for you working together. Remove them ahead of time. Don’t make it confusing. Don’t put in a lot of conditions. Lay it all out and tell them what the next steps are, how you will work for them, how you will keep them informed and how you will make them look good. Find out if they want you to bundle all of the extra costs, such as set-up charges and freight. Be aware of the processes that they need to follow and put together a proposal that already anticipates their processes. Be very clear and very easy to work with, and make it very easy for them to justify working with you.
7. Don’t take anything personally.
Sometimes you won’t get your way. If you created a solution that you believe in and they didn’t buy, feel good about yourself. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. If you are desperate to make a sale, it will be obvious and it will be an obvious turnoff. Create something great, offer it to them and then let go of the decision. You want to feel good about your work and you want to leave the door open to try again.
The most profitable clients are built through the hard work of getting to know them, to understanding their motivations and their problems, and coming up with solutions that are totally framed around them. It’s a form of servant leadership. When you serve their needs, you earn their trust. When you earn their trust, you develop loyal customers who very often become your biggest fans.