“Our greatest joy and our greatest pain comes in our relationships with others.” –Stephen R. Covey
According to business authors, Emmett C. Murphy and Mark A. Murphy, acquiring a new customer can cost five times as much as retaining an existing customer. Every step of the process—identifying prospects, earning their trust through a convincing sales pitch, and executing the sale—can lead to huge expenses. With that in mind, relationship marketing is a critical component for businesses. It is all about recognizing the value of a long-term customer.
Relationship marketing focuses on forming long-lasting business relationships with customers that are mutually beneficial and profitable. It ensures customer satisfaction and a high level of customer retention, rather than focusing solely on sales transactions. The more satisfied and loyal your customers are, the more likely they will be to refer your brand.
Have you ever heard that you learn more about a person at the end of a relationship than at the beginning? The same applies to your customers. Successful relationships are about honest-to-goodness caring and empathy in regard to customer needs.
The following are a few simple tips to help you get started on a more relational approach:
- Be personal. Go out of your way to show customers that you care about them and their business.
- Throw out the “bag of tricks.” Sincerely listen and be there in a helpful way.
- Emotionally connect with customers through open, honest lines of communication.
- Invite feedback and then act on that feedback, integrating it into your product or service.
- Offer a referral program and/or customer loyalty incentives.
- Be active and available to customers and prospects via social channels.
- Provide exceptional customer service.
- Show appreciation. Take the time to sincerely thank your customers and let them know you value them.
By making the shift from traditional marketing to relationship marketing, you’ll be well on your way to attracting and retaining customers that don’t just like your brand, but love it. Even if the end of that relationship does come, you will part on great terms and often times still have a strong advocate for your brand!