Regardless of the type of business, or size of office, without a solid contact list a business will not be in business long without return clients. Following simple time tested methods of accumulating not just names and numbers, but the extra details about your contacts, will help you fulfill your contacts needs through your company.
Your success relies on the quality of the relationships you build with clients. The goal, of course, is to build strong, long lasting associations; this is the life’s blood of a company’s working capital. A business relationship starts with the first sale. Keeping a client relationship ongoing is a constant endeavor that requires some finesse, diligence, and patience, not to mention more than a little personable public relations skill. Listed below are 5 ways of building strong contact connections in any type of business or office environment.
1. Know Your Contacts
By knowing the small details about your contacts it makes it easier for you to mutually connect mentally beyond just knowing the basic client profile information about them. This is where meticulous note taking comes into play. When a client or business associates personal facts come up, IE: Kids, spouse, birthdays, hobbies, etc., make sure that they are recorded down so that next time you are communicating with them, you can add a tasteful and reasonable amount of personal touch to the tone. It’s important to convey a warm and welcoming perception of you and the company you represent. Make sure to jot down a client or business associates preferences and usual purchase habits as well. This way, you will know their needs without them having to ask or remind you. People by nature are drawn back to an establishment where they feel well known at; make sure that the establishment they come back to is your company.
2. Build an Honest Reputation
In business, your word is your bond. It should be considered just as valid and binding as if it was written on paper. Bad reputations are seldom healed or the same after being damaged.
Word of mouth has become a powerful societal tool since the invention of the World Wide Web. The last thing a company needs is to get negative reviews and posts, plaguing them on social media and review/listing sites online. Honesty is always the best policy when dealing with contacts. Being caught in just one lie is all it takes to lose either a fresh contact, or a high revenue long term one. Everyone knows in business that technically, the client isn’t really always right. But they also understand that making things right for the client will potentially bring in far more return business. Taking the high road is always the right path to success when encountering problems with a contact.
3. Communicate Regularly
One doesn’t have to communicate often, but they should regularly communicate with their business contacts when pertinent to do so. The old saying, “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” rings especially true when it comes to your contact list. There is so much competition in the world that one can’t afford to be out of a client’s mind for too long. One way of casually reminding your contact that you are ready to meet there business needs, is to call or email a reminder when a client misses a regular order. Another way to keep regular contact is to read from your contact notes, and when a client’s favorite item or service comes up on special, you can inform the client and let them know you are ready to serve them at their convenience.
4. Own Your Mistakes
Humility is a virtue that most people can respect. Everyone makes mistakes, and as long as those mistakes do not repeatedly continue, everyone will most likely forgive them when they are honorably owned up to. The worst case scenario is that you will lose a contact and a source of revenue in a client, or advantage in a business relationship. The truth is though, that the mistake is bound to come out anyway, so it looks much more professional to immediately apologize for the screw up and show your contact that you are doing everything possible, as soon as possible, in order to rectify the problem. This type of action will usually smooth over any unfortunate company mistakes with the contacts, which may occur during the normal daily course of doing business.
5. Don’t Push It
Sometimes, a relationship with a client is not the best fit for both parties concerned. This is where ego gets in the way and has to be let go of. Accommodate your contact by handing them over to another employee that may be a better match for them. When something doesn’t work for a contact, improvise and find something that will. If that still doesn’t work, you will still have the satisfaction that you did your best before having to part ways and move on. The contact should be able to perceive this as well, and at least not part angry with the service.
Passiveness will get you nowhere with contacts, but pushiness will get you even less ground, and possibly turn them away from dealing with you; take the middle ground and always balance between the two.
Marketing tools such as websites and mailing lists do their part in bringing in contacts, but it is up to the businesses human factor to properly utilize those contacts and keep their shelf life sustained. New clients keep the well fresh and the revenue flowing, but having a full reservoir of viable long term contacts will keep the business afloat in tough times, and help strengthen its foundation further in good times as well. Following the simple guidelines listed above will help channel those contacts into mutually beneficial relationships by building upon and constantly tending to them, with the time tested strategies that are the pillars of which successful businesses have been built upon throughout time-good solid contacts.
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