A long-time client

17 Sep 2015

The sales starts to or should head in the direction of initiating and establishing long-term relationships which directly influence the scale of our business, increase in the income and simultaneous optimization of costs in both a short- and long-term perspective. In this area a certain correlation still has not changed – the costs of provision services for the existing client and cooperation with him are at least 50% lower than the costs of gaining a new one, which has a direct influence on the profits generated by the company. However, it does not happen just like that. The client will not simply stay with us forever on his own, will not ignore offers from the competition, will not be satisfied with what he had received at the beginning, waiting meekly for us to remember about him.

There are numerous things that must happen so that the client can finally decide to make use of either our product or solution. The competition which is present on the market in particular branches and segments is considerable. The emphasis placed on the fulfilment of goals and consequently, applied sales techniques and bargain offers enable the client to choose among the variety of offers and be aware of significant negotiation opportunities.

Generally, there is a noticeable increase in the clients’ awareness of what they really need, want, how much they can buy it for, in what way, how quickly they will be able to use the product they have ordered, what support they can count on, etc. Some clients react to the consultant’s telephone calls, whereas some are the first to call. There are people who prefer a face-to-face meeting and an opportunity to become familiar with the product, as well as those whose preference is contact via e-mail. There is no guarantee that any of them will buy something from us. The product and its destination, the sector and target group determine the proportions between the data of activity and preferences on the client-company line.

However, it does not mean that we are on a hiding to nothing. Finally, after significant effort, consequent negotiation stages, regular contact, presentations, another handful of more and more precise arguments in favour of our offer – a client eventually says ‘yes’. Undoubtedly, we can consider it a success which is worth, at least, celebrating a little, because it is supposed to lead us to the next success and motivate us, constitute a reference and recommendation for others who seem to be interested in what we have to offer. In a long-term perspective, it is probably a half-success and at the same time, the beginning of the path which, starting the following day, we want to tread together with our newly gained client. In order to make it happen, it is worth taking into consideration several significant factors which can directly contribute to the quality of the relationship with our clients.

Consider getting to know your client to be a process.

Becoming thoroughly familiar with the clients is an endless process but simultaneously, a possibility and another opportunity to make precise offers of our products which really solve clients’ problems. If you plan to develop an existing product with new functions or introduce a brand new one – and you have reasons to do so, it is worth communicating such plans to your key clients at a suitable implementation stage. For some such a change can make a significant difference and if not – it is good that they are the first ones to find out about your plans and feel distinguished. This will be another proof for them that their opinion matters to you and that they are, in fact, the beneficiaries of changes that you make.

Be the best advisor.

Advising is a mutual commitment, with the awareness of bearing ‘expenses’ – losing income temporarily. It is because someone has to plan it, prepare it and do it. However, it is worthwhile, within the framework of deeper relationships with clients, to advise and suggest solutions, which perhaps we will not able to monetize ‘right here and right now’. Still, the value of the provided support, establishment of the client’s experience with our brand might be profitable for us in the near future. If you consider this process to be deferred profit. After all, if your client is successful in his/her business, so are you.

Create possibilities – leave the choice.

Each client has different needs, different ways of running business, different strategies and preferences. Every client wants to have a choice as well as an influence on his/her purchase decisions and relationships with the company, even if they are realistically limited. Certainly, the range of clients makes us categorize clients at a particular point and divide them into groups with specific preferences. It is important to get to know them, be aware of them, respect them and put into practice. One of such factors is the manner of communication. If our clients prefer contact via telephone or a face-to-face meeting, let us not force them to communicate only via e-mails or communicators. However, if they are more in favour of the Internet, in terms of both communication itself, but more importantly, in terms of their shopping habits, let us create such a possibility for them. We should not try to change them by force.

A negative feedback as a valuable gift.

Every time you introduce any changes to the company, try to think from the perspective of your clients. It is for them that you make evolutions or revolutions of the existing status quo. They should be the beneficiaries of what you have to offer. However, if it has not always been the case or is now – a negative opinion expressed by your client is a very valuable gift which you might actually receive in a very suitable moment. When it is possible to make numerous things right, to modify and improve them. However, the most important thing is to know what to do with the gift that we have received.

Human factor and process automation.

The scale of our business is determined by many factors: direction, range, manner of operation, business models; However, it is a derivative of our strategy which cannot lack the care for the company’s most important resources – clients. Regardless, whether we have got a dozen, a hundred or many more clients. In the contemporary market conditions it is difficult to gain such a number without competent and committed employees, as well as without new technologies allowing for the improvement in the area of providing services and assistance to the client, by the means of, inter alia: automation of numerous processes and gathering, analysing, and making use of comprehensive data regarding these processes. Investment and development in the field of competent and committed employees as well as IT tools are the components which should be permanently present in the structure of every company’s financial plan.

Provision of services and care for the client start to be strategic features in almost company. It refers to both the past and the present, directly influencing the future of our business. It allows us to acquire more and more precise knowledge about the clients’ needs and to collect both positive feedback and negative opinions. It enables us to improve the products’ functions, maintain permanent and effective relationships, support and subject-based counsel. The aim behind all of it is to be able to create and offer valuable solutions for which clients are willing to pay. Not just once.

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