Fact. We all need to do better with our customer relationships.
Almost every sales person I know has lost one of their best clients some point in their career. It’s what makes us stronger and better at what we do. The guy who was once in charge of decision-making got a promotion, the company got bought then consolidated.. or you unknowingly did something to piss someone off who had more decision-making clout than your purchasing buddy at the company. We all make mistakes. We’re human.
If you’re in web marketing, it is your goal to get strangers to visit your site and to turn them into leads. Once you’ve got a lead, your salesperson then turns those humans into customers. The salesperson should then turn the customer back to the marketing team to nurture long-term client relationships and build brand evangelists. It’s a cycle.. and to be successful, your brand can’t seem robotic at any point in this process.
How important is it to pay attention to my ongoing web marketing? We’ve got a website…
Google and CEB surveyed more than 1,500 customer contacts for 22 large B2B organizations in 2012. They concluded, “the average customer had completed more than one-half (57%) of the purchase decision-making process prior to engaging a supplier sales rep directly. At the upper limit, that number ran as high as 70%.”
Their takeaway: “Companies that fail to “show up strong” in this context are underserving potential customers and at risk of losing mindshare and, ultimately, sales opportunities.”
Basically, researching multiple solutions are high on your customers due-diligence list. How do you build rapport with strangers visiting your website?
The answer is easy(ish): Social Proof
Let’s take a step back: Hasn’t technology dehumanized personal intercommunications?
Keeping abreast of the news about your close friends and family is time-consuming and can be emotionally draining in-person and on the phone. Thank Shiva for the Twitter-Pinsta-FaceSpace-SnapVine’s of the 21st century! Your personal connections now “follow” you through your “private life-journey” without you having to speak your story 10x, to like, you know, a caring human being who can offer you personally tailored, loving advice.
No? I’d totally rather get notified by a constant stream of ego-boosting comments. 35 comments and 119 likes below the photo upload of my dog wearing a birthday bow. Great. I’m #winning my online social life. And spreading #instagood. Because this is what counts in life: the amount of engaged friends you have on the Facebook or the number of followers on Twitter or Instagram.
Listen, as much as we all love to play, it’s not a game. This isn’t about winning or losing. It’s about building a positive supporting rapport among your personal social network online. It’s about feeling good by helping others smile and and learn, while inversely counting on them to share something to enlighten and brighten your day just a little when you need it. It’s about semi-publicly sharing and liking the best (babies, puppies, rainbows!) and the worst (getting fired, accidents, breakups) in your daily life so that you can try to make some semblance of it all by reading other people’s comments.
So how do we relate this back to business communications and customer relationships?
Easily, luv; be human & likeable.
“People buy with their hearts and then justify with their heads.“ – Mike Schultz
Let’s build a world where businesses communicate more humanly–and with purpose–to draw in the attention of strangers.. so they may become living, breathing.. feeling customers. When it comes down to your business, the end goal is to get more customers and make more money. Perhaps eventually sell to the highest bidder.
…to fund the fleeting time we have left to spend with people we care about the most,
So why doesn’t the human voice come out in our business communications when our company consists of humans?
If you’re not familiar with the way the web and social media works on a personal level with liking and sharing and InstaSnaps, building lasting customer relationships online can be a headache.
I’ve been really thinking about this personally the past few weeks. Here are a few of my basic and raw ideas to help you personally grow lasting customer relationships through personally writing and socially sharing, so your brand may begin to break away from the pack.#loisvoice #yourewelcome
- Prove you are listening. Show you fully understand your customers problems and you can relate to their ideals. Engage and answer questions with a helpful human voice. Keep visitors up to date with pertinent industry news–don’t just copy and paste links. Offer a personal insight or a takeaway.
- Customer evidence is social proof. Prospective customers don’t want to read about your business as much as they want to read about people who are just like them. They want to read heartwarming stories of satisfied customers who solved their problem with your company’s terrific solution.
- Tell me a story. Your writing should focus on successes by storytelling. When you share new success stories, you’ll assure visitors your company is the best choice because your spectacular solution worked for another human, just like them! This will earn their trust and slow them down from clicking to your competitors.
- Share your wealth of knowledge. To give is to receive. Give visitors a warm feeling when they start to think about doing business with you. Give current customers a reason to keep coming back to your site for more after the first purchase. If you emote a sense of warmness in your messages–both private emails and public blogs–your website visitors will start to feel more comfortable reaching out to you when they’re ready to buy.
- Become human and relatable–and available. When speaking or writing, always offer advice in a friendly helpful tone. When you do this, you’ll open the doors for direct business and referrals. Your competition may even start feeling comfortable enough to refer your company when they come across a project when they’re just too busy at the moment. The referred human may be in the market for just your solution, so never burn bridges!
Don’t forget: your customers’ needs come first.
Somebody has to shake up the way your company markets themselves online (and gives and receives referrals) before you’re able to reap the rewards of your new human customers. Once you’ve broken down the walls of the normal sales and marketing cycles, your eyes and ears, brain and heart will be open to new, genuine, valuable discussions–and then you may really start to show visitors they can trust you in the long-term. Well after doing business the first time, you can build your reputation year after year by allowing your knowledge and successes to osmotically travel from inbox to inbox. If you write it and your writing is found and well-received by human strangers, the paying human customers will be close behind.