If you want a long term relationship with anyone, be it a person or a business, you have to go through several steps before that relationship becomes a reality. Here are the four steps that businesses go through before long term relationships are cemented:
The Feeling Out Stage
A certain layer of trust has to be developed between two parties before any level of commitment is obtained. This trust can be earned by…
Not bragging – Hyping up a product or service may help with the initial sale, but will eliminate any chance of a profitable long term alliance.
Having good customer service – If the buyer likes your customer support they’ll become attached to you because excellent customer service is not something that everybody else has. As a salesperson you have to make sure that your customer gets their order on time, uses it properly, and has access to customer support if things go wrong.
The Growth Stage
Once your customer is satisfied, it’s time to make that customer a much more profitable one. Seeing that the buyer already trusts you, you should have no problem getting them interested in your other products or services. This can be done by having them update to a newer model of your product or by having them buy products that are related or unrelated to their original purchase. Keep in mind that the more customer service you have, the more likely you client is to buy from you because they are constantly reminded of your trustworthy presence.
The Commitment Stage
Once you have gained the trust of a customer and that buyer is already making more purchases from you, the next step in the relationship is to create a commitment from the customer which guarantees you a certain portion of their business for a long period of time. Although the extent of these “preferred seller” relationships vary significantly from one to the other, it’s a safe bet that a preferred seller received guaranteed business from this committed relationship. A committed relationship can only occur if all facets of a selling company work in harmony with the needs of the client. Furthermore, the corporate culture of the selling firm has to instill of sense of customer service in everyone from the CEO to the salesperson.
The Termination Stage
If everyone is happy in a relationship, it lives on for an indefinite period of time. All relationships, however, are at risk of ending and they usually end because the seller gets too complacent. At one point or another your client will be exposed to your competitors and/or a flaw in how you deal with them. If you seek to maintain lasting relationships always check up on your customer to make sure that they are happy so that they don’t seek your competition.
Even if you a relationship does come to a close, don’t assume that you’ll never get the former client’s business again. Their new supplier may not be fulfilling their needs and, because they’ve already done business with you, convincing them to rejoin is a lot easier sell than convincing a completely new prospect to buy in to your product or service.
About the Author: Nickolay Lamm is an internet marketing specialist at InventHelp.