The communications you have with clients and prospects inform their perception of your company. Does your company come across as impersonal, with automated emails and a lengthy, recorded phone tree? Have you ever received emails or phone calls that start with, “I’d really like to speak to a real person”?
Your interactions with customers are important for your company’s success. With all of the faceless communications in the digital realm, it’s vital to connect with people on a personal level. Even if ACME Corp. is technically the buyer of your product or service, you still have to connect with the very human person making the purchasing decision.
Developing strong connections comes into play in every stage of acquiring new clients.
This is the research phase for most prospects. It’s important to have a strong presence wherever people and companies are searching for your products and services. Anymore, this stage usually happens online, so your company needs an attractive, responsive website that provides rich content that demonstrates your expertise, competence, and trustworthiness.
Make sure your online presence is friendly and personal, so it’s immediately clear to prospects that there are people behind the company. You can do this in several ways:
- Include photos and bios of employees on your company website
- Send out relevant, custom newsletters that engage readers’ interest and bring them back to your website
- Keep social media accounts updated
- Respond to comments on your blog
A favorable first impression goes a long way in engaging new prospects.
At this point, salespeople have one-on-one conversations with prospects, hold product demonstrations, offer specific solutions, and provide relevant information to nurture leads. As they move through the sales funnel, prospects benefit from personalized attention. The relationship is really developing now, and it’s the perfect opportunity to listen.
Listening can make or break a relationship, so during this transition phase make sure you’re keenly aware of what your prospective client needs and wants. Knowing what specific issue your prospect is dealing with allows you to make recommendations and offer information, articles, or resources that will be truly helpful. The only way to achieve this is through genuine, personal communications. Whether it’s through email, telephone, IM, or social media, be sure to keep the lines of communication open.
After a prospect becomes a client, don’t let the relationship fizzle. This is perhaps the most important time to reach out and maintain friendly, customer-centric communications. A common complaint is that customers feel like the attention and communication they enjoyed during the sales process disappears once they become a client.
Collaborate with each client and discover how your company can continue to solve new challenges and keep building the relationship. It’s likely that what works for one client will work for another, so maintaining strong relationships can also improve your productivity.
Putting that personal element in your business communications will help your sales and marketing efforts. Remember, you do business with people, not companies!