April 27, 2017
Why Customer Relationship Management is Your Most Important Sales Tool
BY Caitlin Delohery IN CRM Software 0 Comment
Relationships are the wheels to your success. Without good tires, a car is just a hunk of metal — and without relationships, businesses won’t move. That’s why centering your efforts on customer relationship management (CRM) paves the way for a smooth ride.
It strengthens your relationship with customers.
If you were given the option to work with someone you know and like or a complete stranger, chances are, you’re going to go with the person you know. Your customers are the same. It’s all about trust.
That’s why good customer relationship management revolves around conversation. When you focus on communicating intentionally with your contacts, it makes it easier for you to get to know them — and for them to get to know you and your business.
Take it from Bob Thompson, CEO of CustomerThink Corp., who says “successful CRM is about competing in the relationship dimension. Not as an alternative to having a competitive product or reasonable price, but as a differentiator.”
And you need a differentiator. Our world is a mile-a-minute and the thing that’s going to make your contacts slow down and pay attention to you is your talent at relationship building. What do you remember more? The slick ad or the salesperson who remembered your kiddo was a bunch of grapes for Halloween last year? That’s what I thought. Go for the meaningful connection – every time.
Tip: Put people first. Focus on building a rapport instead of making a deal. Learn about your contacts and connect with them. When the sales pitch comes, it won’t be transactional — instead, you’ll talk more honestly about how you can help each other. As writer and lecturer Dale Carnegie wrote in his best-selling book, How to Win Friends & Influence People,
“If you want others to like you, if you want to develop real friendships, if you want to help others at the same time as you help yourself, keep this principle in mind: Become genuinely interested in other people.”
It provides personalized attention.
Once you get to know your customers, personalization will be organic. After all, you probably don’t struggle to “personalize” emails to your friends. Nurturing professional relationships you’ve already built is the same. Collecting information about your contact — from emails, conversations, and social media tracking — makes customization a no-brainer.
If you know your contact’s birth date, send over a ‘Happy Birthday’ email.
If you know they love Italian food (and wine), schedule your next meeting at a great Italian place in town. If they are Seahawks fans, gently tease them for their poor taste — and then give them hot seats to the next game. Pay attention to all that makes them unique and use that info to build the relationship.
Now, when you’re dealing with a few customers, keeping all that info, from personal details to social media preferences, is pretty easy. But, as your fan base grows, it’s crucial to stay organized so you never forget an important anniversary or accidentally send those Seahawks tickets to a diehard 49ers fan. Use a CRM to track conversations, then use that info to tweak communication.
Tip: Use a CRM to track your contact’s birthday, their current position, work anniversary, and more. Add your own observations, and giving personalized attention to your leads will be a breeze.
It makes follow up natural.
All this personalization will be a lot more impressive if you use it to make your follow up as human as possible.
The next time you talk with or email a contact, weave what you learned through past interactions into your conversation. You’ll find your deep knowledge will help the conversation flow naturally.
Another benefit of centering your business on your contacts? It makes communication proactive instead of reactive. For example, if you know when a customer last purchased from you, you can use that info to reach out at the perfect time.
Tip: The next time you call a contact, focus on your relationship with them. What do you have in common? What’s your history? And have you heard from them lately? Use this information to inform how you communicate with them.
Strengthening the relationship between you and your contacts will help your small business really fly. What do you do to manage customer relationships and build your business? Leave your thoughts in the comments!