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Building Good Customer Relationships

Building Good Customer Relationships

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Published by Hewlett-Packard

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Published by: Hewlett-Packard on Sep 01, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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How to turn a single sale into a lifetimerelationship with your customers
Maintaining a healthy cash flow is one of the perennial challenges facingsmall and medium enterprises, and worries over the immediatepayments that need to be made can easily lead to a rush for incomefrom nearly any source. But the key to stable, growing sales is todevelop healthy business relationships with your clients, a process thattakes time and patience.
Intel, the Intel Logo, Intel Inside, Intel Core, and Core Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation inthe U.S. and/or other countries.
Building good customer relationships
Building good customerrelationships
Developing strong business relationships starts before your first meeting. Before you are standing in frontof a potential customer, figuratively or literally, you need to know that you and your sales team are ready
to put your best foot forward. Knowledge of your product is essential, but a list of facts won’t be good
enough. You should be able to describe how your product or service will solve
your clients’ problems, and
your description should be clear enough that your customers can envision the solution unfolding for
themselves. You will also need to be knowledgeable of your main competitors’ offerings so that you can
highlight your competitive advantage.Creating a professional image and building good customer relationships is an investment in the future. If 
you do it effectively you can increase your customers’ trust in you, increase order sizes and give them
confidence that you will be around for the long-term.
If selling a product means telling a story, then your client is the protagonist. Market research shouldn’t stop
at evaluating demand and setting prices. Take the time to understand who your clients are likely to be, theindustry jargon they will be familiar with, and the financial trends affecting their businesses.Develop an ideal client profile. Do you want to work with start-ups or major firms? Would you rather workon a few large projects or a lot of smaller projects? Which sectors are you most interested in working with?
Many of your clients won’t exactly fit this profile, maybe none of them will, but having a clear idea of what
clients you want will direct your marketing efforts and help you determine which contracts are worthpursuing aggressively, and which ones might not be a part of your larger business strategy.
If you don’t have a strong corporate identity, now is the time to build one. Branding doesn’t have to be
expensive. HP Logoworks and similar online services offer a range of reasonably priced branding optionsthat will fit within any budget. But skipping this step could prove disastrous
if you aren’t taking charge of your company’s image, then you are leaving it up to chance or, worse, your competitors.
Finding leads
Now that you know who your customers are likely to be and how your product fits into their business, it’s
time to get the word out.Firms with an active online presence have reported stronger growth than their strictly traditionalcounterparts. Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns are popular because you only pay when someone actually
Building good customer relationships
follows your link. If you are worried about the total cost, you can set a maximum monthly budget to limityour exposure.The key to a successful PPC campaign is to try out multipl
e approaches and prune the ones that aren’t
performing. You will need to design ads and choose keywords based on your business, then at the end of the month you will be able to evaluate which ads and keywords were clicked on most heavily, and whichones actually led to a sale. Dropping the underperforming adsand looking for similarities among your effective ads will boostthe return on investment from your PPC campaign over time.Ignoring traditional advertising is as much of a mistake asignoring the internet. Place ads in local newspapers, magazinesand other places where you expect potential customers to seethem. Most people will barely glance at your ad, so you have togive a single, clear impression, but be wary of sliding intosensationalism. Your advertising should be in line with your
corporate brand; don’t vie for attention at the cost of 
 jeopardising your reputation.Direct mailings have got a bad reputation because so manycompanies have sent out ugly, poorly conceived mailings. Designan attractive mailing that will get a second look, with strongsales copy that describes why clients should contact you formore information. If you already have some regular clients, askthem if you can send a few test copies with different designsand ask for feedback. Including clients in the process, andincluding a small incentive, will strengthen ties with existingclients while you look for new ones.Randomly spamming people is a terrible idea
it probably won’t
be effective and it will brand your company as a nuisance, but
you shouldn’t throw out email entirely. Email campaigns should be conducted on an opt
-in basis. Providesomething of value, such as videos, an informational eBook or a free applet relevant to your field, in
exchange for people’s email ad
dresses. This process of self-selection makes your recipients more likely toread the emails you send out. Follow up with multiple emails spread out over a long enough timeframe that
you don’t overwhelm your prospective clients. Testing email copy is every
bit as important as it is in directmailings.Online auctions are also a great way to generate leads, because people logged in to them are activelylooking for goods or services. If you sell merchandise, you can set up a storefront on eBay, but you shouldalso look for smaller, niche auction sites. If your company provides a service, consider establishing profileson freelancing sites. The projects that you complete through these sites can then migrate to regularbusiness channels.
Eight things you can dotoday to build yourcustomer relationships
1.Re-open the conversation with
an ex-customer
2.Endorse a customer contact onLinkedIn3.Set up a free event, seminar ortraining event for customers4.Ask happy customers for anintroduction or referral5.
Hand write a ‘thank you’ letter
to your best customer6.Run a quick survey using Ryppleor another online tool to get
7.Arrange a personal visit to yourtop five customers8.Introduce or refer yourcustomers to help them getnew business

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