How building relationships save future businesses
In Things we learned during this Lockdown, Lessons for creative businesses, we highlighted the importance of creating brands people can trust. We shortly touched on the importance of relationship management and how to implement that in your business operations. Time to go in depth and share some of our real time experience you can take notes from.
“Buyers trust friends, family and business partners” (The visible Expert, 2021)
Having worked in sales for almost 10 years, I experienced several changes working for larger companies in the Netherlands. From the outside, the Netherlands is considered a relatively difficult market dependent on what industry you’re working in.
Having durable outcomes
From the inside, the Dutch consumer is well protected from sleazy sales and entering into unforeseeable agreements. Also, considering that the average consumer has become more informed over the last 10 years, companies emphasize on effective strategizing with durable outcomes rather than short-term sales achievements.
- Recognize the difference that you make
From working directly with the consumer, my service feedback scored at excellence every time. At first hand, I never reflected on ‘why’ I was able to deliver, because I didn’t give myself enough room to celebrate my wins (there was some imposter syndrome there). My win was applying the needed steps to reach high retention and NPS scores. But when my supervisor highlighted a conversation where one told me: “I trust you”. My reaction was: Euhm, trust?! I knew I had to be doing something that made a difference.
Time for strategy
One of the adapted strategies of the company I worked at was: becoming part of the average household via several relationship models built on one important thing: trust. The ultimate channel was to be the brand one would recommend at a birthday party or social gathering. I have seen several learning methods work for me in my industry and working operations.
- Continue to build a strong offline presence
Now back to my learnings in my business operations. After reviewing my 3rd year company analysis, I realized that over 60% of my leads come from referrals. The rest was generated from offline networking and speaking engagements. I’m a presenter, you happen to have seen me moderating at an African impact, business or entertainment event. Doing simply what I love. My work in sales taught me how to strategically chime in (in 2-minute max) what I do and how I do it. I gathered that my offline presence played a supporting role in people understanding what I do and how they can access my work.
3. Dare to ask questions
Having worked with entrepreneurs and experts, I always recommend zooming into that which delivers the ‘coin’ (your income) and applying a strategyy to maximize that fully. I followed up on my own advice and started to find out, what makes me so interesting and why people refer me to their business partner and their friends. I simply asked questions like: How satisfied are you with my work?”. How did your recommendation come about?
On another note….
- Truly listen to your clients
There is one major turn off in communications that counts for any interaction. That is: refusing to listen to one’s voice and simply pushing your story. People are done with that approach and it’s normal to have zero tolerance for that. The improved approached I learned about is asking the right questions. Which is a skill on its own. Combine that with being honest and you are most likely to have an advantage.
Some helpful questions to ask or adapt to
- I’m honestly excited to let you know that I want to help you with your strategy. What do you think about me helping you reach those 10 clients?
- I totally understand that you don’t want to spend too much. How about we look at the numbers and see how we can meet you at your end?
- May I ask you, how likely would you recommend me to your friend?
In part two of this item (dropping innext other Monday), I will continue with 3 more tips on how to add to your learnings or maby it will be worth starting a new discussion.
For comments, additions or anything else, don’t hesitate to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org.