As an entrepreneur, relationships are some of the most valuable assets you’ll ever create. There are the relationships that you form with your customers, with your suppliers and with other small business owners. . You won’t find a column for “relationships” on your balance sheet but you should always be working on growing this asset no matter what.
When you focus your marketing activities in the following three steps, you will be working towards building strong relationships with customers and potential customers. By becoming an authority in your industry, building connections and bringing great value to the table, you’ll find yourself with a stable of strong business relationships in no time.
1. Establish Credibility in Your Industry
The first step is to position yourself as an authority in your industry. Don’t be afraid to highlight your credentials! Take advantage of inbound content marketing and create an informative blog, write a newsletter, and learn to use social media effectively. Every one of the aforementioned avenues are great places to build, grow, and nurture an audience.
When it comes to customer relationship trends, if you want to succeed in today’s market you don’t just want to make the sale. You need to be able to cultivate a long-term partnership with your customers. Too often, businesses spend the bulk of their time chasing “new” sales, all the while failing to understand that current customers can be a good source of additional business. As a consultant, I often come across companies making the mistake of not managing customer relationships. When I survey a few of their current customers, I find they only know about a single product or service being offered by the company. And, if they hear from the company after the sale, it’s usually to only to try to make another sale. This results in a revolving door of customers, which is often quite expensive for the brand.
Below are some tips to help manage and cultivate your customer relationships.
Connect with Your Customers
Connect with your customers on a level which supersedes the business of the transaction. Get to know them and develop a rapport. If customers feel a connection with you, they will begin to trust you and your recommendations. Always be honest and don’t oversell your product. Instead, demonstrate to them that you are not just in it to make a sale; but you want to earn their long-term business.
Here at MyCorporation, we’re busy prepping for the end of the year and looking forward to what 2014 will bring for small businesses and entrepreneurs. But while our prep involves helping to file delayed filings or incorporating or forming LLCs for small businesses, we’re curious to see how other companies are closing out 2013. Today, we have 24 small business professionals giving us a look at what they’re working on for their brands and their biggest business tips on how to close out the end of the year!
1. “Make a resolution to focus on one social media platform. Social media is not going away and it’s time for small business to step up.”
- Lisa McTigue, Social Media Expert, LisaMcTigue.com
2. “We are making sure all inventory is in stock and organized, all marketing materials ready to go and short lead press releases being sent to appropriate parties. We look forward to a successful holiday season!”
- Sally Goodgold, Founder, WarmTradition.com
3. “At year end, I always check in with everyone who was interested to hire us during the year but didn’t. Many times companies find “use it or lose it funds” on the books at the end of the year and if you hit the timing right, they may just reopen the conversation where you left off before and have you invoice them in December to get the found money off the books. Then you can start the new year strong with motivated clients who will return your calls fast since they have already paid you!”
- Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder and CEO, Mavens & Moguls
By David Ackert
Has business development started to feel a little dull? All those mixers, networking meetings, and lunches spent getting to know “business acquaintances” you don’t really care about. Be honest - if you knew for a fact that your referral sources would never refer you another new piece of business, would you ever talk to them again? Most of us wouldn’t, and that’s why it’s so difficult to sustain any enthusiasm around our networking activities. We market ourselves aggressively for a few months, then burn out and hibernate, then panic when our pipelines get lean, and force ourselves back into the fray.
If any of this sounds familiar, here are three ways you can put that “spark” back into your work life:
When starting a new business from scratch, there are several factors you need to consider from marketing materials and hiring employees to selling products and saving money, that your business’ credit could easily take a backseat on the priority list. However, maintaining your business’ good credit is extremely important when it comes to building a successful company.
What exactly is business credit?