How do you show you care?

As it’s Valentine’s Day my topic is relationships. I want you to think about how you work at building and maintaining all the different relationships that are important to your business. Now since that would be the subject of a book here, on February14th, are 14 questions to start your thinking:

  1. How do you say thank you to your customers? A thank you note, a bonus, a small gift will all leave your customers with a great feeling about your business and will help them to pass on the good word.

    Orchids & candles

    You could say thank you with flowers

  2. What problems do you solve for your customers? Solving your customers’ problems is the ultimate relationship building tool and one you need to communicate with the world.
  3. How do you show customers you value all feedback including complaints? It is particularly important to hear from your unhappy customers and then to resolve their problems. These people will become your best advocates.
  4. How do you reward customer loyalty? With ever increasing competition it is important to work hard at keeping your existing customers and this might mean thinking through how you say thank you.
  5. What do you do to build a relationship with a prospect? People rarely buy at the first time of asking so what do you do to keep your business in the prospect’s mind? How do you establish your credibility?
  6. How well do prospects understand how you can help them? Does your marketing explain the problems you solve and the benefits of working with you? Can you personalise those benefits to individual prospects?
  7. How often do you communicate with customers and prospects? Even happy customers are likely to forget you so it’s important to find a way to stay in touch on a regular basis, at least every 90 days.
  8. What do you do to build relationships with your suppliers? There are many advantages to having a great relationship with your suppliers including preferential terms, priority access to new lines, referrals etc.
  9. How easy do you make it for those in your network to promote what you do? How well do your contacts understand what you do? Do they understand what kind of prospects/opportunities would be great for you?
  10. How do you show your appreciation for referrals? We’re back to finding ways to say thank you. A phone call, a letter, a bouquet or a reciprocal referral might also be appreciated.
  11. What do you do to ensure that your staff members feel valued? This might not be about money but could be about helping their work/life balance, personal development etc.
  12. How do you reward your staff for the behaviours you want more of? This might be about public recognition for a job well done.
  13. What are you doing to build relationships with journalists and other influencers? If you have good working relationships with journalists it increases your chances of media coverage. Think how you can help the people who could help you.
  14. How do you ensure that you have time and energy for the ones you love? Probably the most important relationships so it’s really important to make sure that you find time to keep them going.

I don’t know about you but I’ve got my work cut out to do better with some of these relationships so I’m off to do some work. I’d love to hear any relationship building tips that you’ve got. Why not comment here or email me?

12 top tips for networking success

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How do you feel about networking? Do you see it as a great way of doing business or simply a waste of time? Do you invest time in networking or avoid anything that bears the label? Over the years I’ve … Continue reading

How to win friends and influence people!

I’ve been out and about networking this week and, as always, it has been an interesting experience. Some people are naturals. They have an empathy with the people they meet and an easy manner which enables them to build relationships quickly. Others are awkward and it can be a bit of a challenge to keep a conversation going. However, for me the worst type of networkers are those who only want to talk about themselves and show no interest in me. I get to the stage where I switch off and stop hearing what they are saying.

It’s even easier to switch off when people are doing their one minute (or less) presentations. Very few people really engage me at the start of their pitch. Some experienced networkers will use a hook, humour or other device to gain my attention and make me remember them. However most people just launch in to a description of what they do, they can be half way through their few seconds before I realise that what they are saying might be of interest.

As with any marketing or communication it’s important to qualify your audience and give them a reason for listening. Raise their curiosity. Explain how you can help them. Recognise that the first part of what you say will probably pass them by before their brains are fully engaged so make sure it’s either unimportant or repeated. Starting and finishing with your name can deal with that problem. Using a question or two will help to engage their interest. Keep it simple. Don’t try to cover everything in just a few seconds. Leave them wanting to make a follow up appointment with you and then make sure you listen just as much (if not more) than you speak.

Graham Le Gall and I will be running a 3 hour ‘Winning It in One Minute’ workshop in Ealing on Monday June 27th 2011 from 11.00a.m.-2.00p.m. We’ll help you to develop and deliver an effective, memorable 60 second presentation targeted at the right audience. The cost of this pilot workshop is a never to be repeated £30; to reserve your place email glenda.shawley@thetrainingpack.co.uk

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