Most companies focus their marketing efforts on reaching new customers. This is critical to getting your business up and running, but it only gets you part of the way toward reaching your potential. To grow over time, you have to focus part of your effort on building customer relationships. The better you get to know your customers, the more effective you can be at building your sales over time. These seven tips can help you develop customer relationships and build sales.
1. Know Yourself
People have come to you for a reason. Sometimes it is a focus on quality products or excellent service, and sometimes it is the way you have branded yourself. Take the time to look inward and understand what you really offer your customers.
2. Follow Up
A customer relationship is more than just a series of transactions. Reach out to your customers after they purchase from you. Ask whether they are satisfied, what they like best, and what they might recommend for you to improve. You not only gain information but maintain a connection that the customer will appreciate.
3. Engage on Social Media
Social media platforms give you ways to connect with the people on whom you rely to stay in business. Reach out and provide information on your business, specials you are running, and what matters to you outside of the sale. You get the chance to grow relationships and develop insights into your customers as people.
4. Build Your Data
Every purchase a person makes gives you access to information about that person. Gather those data points to learn about customers, as individuals, and as a group. You can learn about geographical trends, purchasing behaviors, demographic expectations, and a great deal more to guide your marketing and outreach efforts.
5. Learn at the Point of Sale
If you are selling from a physical location, there is no reason not to talk to your customers. Ask how they are doing, and why they are purchasing what they are. If you are selling online, distribute surveys after they complete their purchases. It takes little time or effort, and you can gain valuable insights into what people are thinking at the moment of purchase.
6. Look at Inflection Points
Purchasing behavior is not constant. Time of year, current events, or life changes can all affect what, or how much, a person purchases. The more you can learn about what drives particular decisions, the better you can understand and respond to what really matters to people.
7. Keep Learning
Similarly, people grow and change over time. Don't assume that after a great month or quarter or year, you know everything you need to know. Keep gathering data and asking questions.
Any successful business evolves over time. If you take the time to get to know your customers, you can direct that evolution in ways that let you nurture customer relationships. Do what you can to get to know the people who ultimately drive your success.