Running a small business, you understand that no two days are exactly the same. Sometimes you have quiet, slow days and other days are a constant state of go, go, go. If your business is one whose customers are not regular consumers, but happen to be other businesses, then you are presented with different obstacles. Business people all know the game and are playing it themselves every day, so marketing to other businesses and fostering healthy relationships with can be a unique challenge. What are some of the best ways that you can build a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship with prospective customers?
Be Open And Ready For Communication — All Kinds
When you’re working with clients, you need to be open to their preferred method of communication. Remember, you are not the number one priority to your clients and that’s okay, they have their own companies to run and clients to take care of. This being said, the way that your clients choose to communicate with you might not be your favorite way, but to satisfy your client you need to be ready for it.
Maybe you consider the best in company communication to be through email, but one of your clients contacts you only through Google Hangouts because that’s what works for them. Even if you think this is inefficient and cumbersome, it doesn’t matter; if you want to make the sale to your customer then you need to work with them, not the other way around.
Make The End Result And Quality Of Work Your Selling Point
Sure, you could sit there and discuss price ranges and how much revenue working with this specific client will bring you, but the bottom line is that the customers really don’t care how much money you’re making. Customers care about a good product or service and having their minds blown. They came to you to make their lives easier and to solve a problem that they’re having at their own place of work. Make your company one that resolves issues, goes above and beyond and impresses the masses as you do your job. It might sound backward, but a lot of the time price doesn’t matter as much as a selling point when your main customer base is other businesses. They get it too.
Get To Know Your Potential Customers
Market research is so important when you’re trying to advertise to a specific demographic. The better you understand your clients and what they want and need, the better you can pan your marketing tactics to those needs and wants. Consider sending a short email survey asking questions like:
Where did you hear about the company? If you think about it, this could be the most important piece of information that you can learn. If you notice that a steady group of clients all seem to hear about you from the same source, then you know where you need to beef up your marketing strategies.
How long have you been a customer? Once you know the depth of a client’s loyalty to you and your brand, you can get a better idea of what they have come to expect from you and your services.
What are some ways I can improve? Praise is always a wonderful thing, but praise paired with constructive criticism is a great learning tool for you. Nobody’s perfect, but learning things that customers don’t like and want to avoid can be a learning tool to help you improve the way you conduct business.
Speak...And More Importantly, Listen
Communication is easily one of the most vital parts of running a healthy business, so being in constant contact with your clients and being transparent and open with them is a big deal. However, remember that they have an opinion as well, and while you might be an expert in your field, don’t assume that your clients have no voice. Let them speak, and listen to what they have to say. You might learn a new strategy that you had never considered before and develop a closer-knit relationship with your customer.
It sounds like it should go without saying, but always remember that honesty is the best policy. Never, ever lie or mislead your customers even if you think you’re saving yourself from an awkward confrontation. Being dishonest reflects poorly on your business, but even worse on you as an individual. If you think that it won’t get back to you, remind yourself that Yelp and Google Reviews exist for a reason, and unhappy customers can and will take out their frustrations on you publicly. Just don’t lie, period.
When you work hands-on with other businesses for a living, knowing how to build and keep trusting relationships can be difficult. Develop your strategies and hone them over time to keep your business thriving and your customer base healthy.
This is a guest post. We welcome guest posts about helping manufacturers increase sales and/or advance their marketing function. Send in your idea and you too could be a guest blogger on MMG.
Guest blogger - Lewis Robinson