Trust and mutual benefit are two elements that have enabled humans to live in harmony throughout history. And these elements continue to hold society together.
Effective salespeople are those who build their sales strategy on these two concepts. Because buyers tend to trust salespeople who have the opportunity to differentiate themselves through their actions and approach to the customers’ needs.
In this article, we’ll talk about how salespeople can develop a mindset that will enable them to build long-term, mutually valuable customer relationships.
Importance of a Strong Customer Relationship In Sales
Depending on your industry or role, you may be familiar with the concept of client relationships instead. This can be used interchangeably with customer relationships and serves the same purpose.
The primary purpose of building and nurturing positive customer relationships is to make the customer feel safe and focus on their needs or challenges. The more in depth these are understood, the better the seller will be able to define and present their solution. When there is an agreement on the goals and desired solutions, it is easier to conduct business.
Delivering consistent value over time builds trust, loyalty, and satisfaction between the customer and seller.
At the same time, the seller’s company is likely to see a radical increase in its sales and long term success, thanks to its loyal customers.
Stages of Customer Relationships
The ultimate goal for a salesperson is to be a trusted advisor. To reach this level, the client must feel comfortable and have enough trust to share openly without fear of being defrauded.
Salespeople should maintain an effective sales communication strategy throughout. They can apply the below 4-step process to reach this goal.
This first stage is when customers initially become aware of your brand’s existence.
Spreading the brand name in various communication channels through marketing strategies enables companies to bring their customers to this stage.
Ironically, the most reliable of these communication channels is word-of-mouth referrals arising from the relationships salespeople have developed with their current customers.
When customers’ needs match with a solution of the brand, or the brand’s messaging catches their attention, they start looking for a way to engage.
At this stage, customers interact with the brand through actions, such as website visits, social media monitoring, newsletter subscriptions, or reading content and customer experience reviews written about the brand.
When your company’s website and social media content reflect the brand tone and offer all the information and support the customer needs, it directly impacts the customer’s decision. Only in this way can your team ensure that external sources do not mislead your customer.
This stage is where the customer makes their final decision and purchases a product or service.
At this stage, the salesperson must ensure the customer feels that they are not only buying a product but also a value created by the brand.
At the same time, this stage provides an opportunity for your team to conduct win/loss reviews to improve the sales process and ongoing communication strategy.
Customer Retention & Advocacy
This is the stage in which salespeople can most effectively strengthen their customer relationships.
It is vital to use every opportunity to maintain customer service and customer support to create a unique bond between the brand and the customer at this stage.
Successful retention strategies are a team effort. Your success can be measured by your customers’ loyalty, level of engagement, and willingness to introduce or refer you to new customers. The focus should be on developing a partnership that is mutually beneficial, transparent, and delivers long-term sustainable value for both parties.
How to Create a Sustainable Customer Relationship
The communication salespeople establish is personal and should be unique to each customer.
Therefore, sales teams cannot improve communication with customers with repetitive, robotic actions. They need to develop a sincere and organic relationship as two people would do as friends.
They need the right attitude to match their customers’ characteristics, and their behaviour should be deliberate when managing customer relationships. This can be achieved through effective customer relationship management, which will help to develop trust with the customer.
Here are 5 tips your sales team can use to successfully create long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with their customers:
1- Create a Strategy
When developing a customer relationship strategy, it is essential not to focus purely on sales-oriented planning. People immediately understand when salespeople try to sell products without caring about the customer.
Customers shouldn’t feel that salespeople are not passionate about the product they are selling. They should feel that their salesperson trusts the product and believes that it’s the right solution for them.
A customer should trust that a salesperson is looking out for their mutual interests with the solution they are selling.
If your team can create a flexible strategy that focuses on the customer’s specific needs and ways of working throughout the stages of the customer lifecycle, they can maximise their relationships.
2- Build Trust
The Harvard Business Review defines trust as the social glue that holds business relationships together. Trustworthiness is a mix of credibility, reliability, and sincerity.
Salespeople should keep their communication and actions consistent. They should keep their promises, stay honest, and empathise with their customers.
Remember, your customers trust your solution only as much as they trust your team.
Companies often make the mistake of focusing on gaining new customers over strengthening ties with existing ones. However, the value that a reliable customer adds to the brand is much longer-term and sustainable.
3- Personalise Interactions With the Customer
Trust is essential in creating a sustainable customer relationship, but it’s not the only factor that strengthens communication between people.
People want to feel understood and respected. Salespeople with the right mindset create opportunities for customers to share about themselves.
Encourage your sales team to ask questions about your customers’ hobbies, habits, and opinions to find common interests.
Doing so proves that your brand values them as an individual, not just a customer.
4- Request Feedback
Feedback is critical to development – it’s an opportunity for meaningful conversations and growth.
By regularly asking customers for feedback, your team can get tips that will strengthen your product and their communication strategies.
Also, seeing how their feedback pays off strengthens your customers’ connection with your brand.
5- Reward Loyalty
Special incentives or privileges for long-time customers, like a loyalty program, maintain existing customers’ loyalty and encourage new customers to establish long-term relationships with a brand.
Improve Your Team’s Mindset With LSOS Training
The key to building customer relationships is a solid sales mindset, which enhances customer-focused thinking and expands the communication strategy repertoire.
Relationship training is essential for high-volume sales teams who must master the art of relationship building.
LSOS sales training has been created by a team with decades of experience building sustainable customer relationships who have discovered the best practices.
You can strengthen your team’s mindset on client relationships by discovering LSOS training, which combines effective and comprehensive training content with exercises that simulate direct interaction with clients.
If you need further information, you can always contact us. We are more than happy to help!