Customers are hard to please. What’s harder is to gain their trust and build long-term relationships.
Let’s start with some statistics. Researches have shown that 96% of your website visitors or who enquire about your product are not ready to buy your product yet.
While the other 4% are interested but still unsure. These 100% together are what we refer to as ‘leads’. In layman language or simple sales and marketing language they are called prospects or potential customers (emphasis on ‘potential’). But then how do you convert these leads into customers/clients?
Although achieving a 100% conversion rate is ambitious, but you can always increase their existing rate. Although there are many options out there, the best one still remains is building a conducive relationship with your leads.
Why is it important to build relationships with leads?
- A good relationship increases trust between you and your leads. They tend to start gaining faith in your business and that you will deliver what is being promised.
- When there is intimate trust between your business and lead, you do not have to hard-sell have to go too hard with your pitches and proposals.
- Relationships with leads are the starting point of building customer relationships with them. Gradually, these relationships start giving you returns as you gain leads as your loyal customers.
- When you try to build a healthy relationship from the very first interaction, it builds a positive and caring image of your brand.
8 ways to build relationships with your leads
Know them better beforehand
A solid relationship with a lead can be built only when you know enough about them. You need to have as much information about your lead as possible to convert them into a client. Unless you know about their needs and requirements you will not be able to come up with a winning proposal. Your research about a lead will determine how far you can take your business relationship with them.
For instance, if you own a restaurant and you have a customer that has visited you for the first time, you need to put your best foot forward to retain them as regular customers. Look into what are their food preferences and what more you can offer according to that as they are now a potential customer. If they choose to eat a platter of cottage cheese dish, you now know they are fond of it and can offer them a second visit by telling them about other options. This way the customer will feel valued and might choose to visit a second time.
If you look around, everyone can be a potential customer if you have gathered enough information about them. By information, I mean both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ information.
- Products and services they are looking forward to.
- What are thor goals and objectives? If they align with yours then well and good, if not then you can mold them to fit and fulfill your leads’ goals.
- Have they been associated with any of your competitors before, or are they exploring other options?
- And most importantly, what is their budget.
- How will your product add value to their life?
- Their interests ad preferences. By knowing this you can cross-sell and upsell.
- What are their expectations, if they will be associating with you.
By using the information about your client you can make your interaction with them more personalized and emotionally rich.
Focus on building a virtual relationship
The relationship with a lead does not necessarily have to be built on one to one basis. You can build a virtual relationship on the basis of the content that you publish. Make more engaging and relevant content that interests them. Use key influencers to promote your product and to showcase that your product has value in the market. 93% of B2B companies say that content marketing gets more leads and builds better relationships than traditional marketing practices. Thus, consistency in content creation will not only build a powerful relationship with your existing leads but will also help you in gaining new ones.
Treat them like your potential customers ONLY!
There is a common notion that says that you should treat your customers/leads as your family. However, it is a good way of building a relationship, yet not the appropriate one. Treating them like family leaves a lot of space for misperception and unmet expectations that eventually result in disappointments on both ends. Build your relationship on the basis of trust yet keep it strictly professional. This way you will be able to build a sturdy and long-lasting relationship with your leads.
If you will treat them like family you will be raising their expectations (unintentionally) which you will not be able to fulfill later. So why let any such situation see the light of the day?
You build relationships with leads by nurturing them. Do not expect a potential customer to reach out to you. You need to take the initiative and make your move first. Why?
- It will make them feel wanted and valued, which will make the foundation of your relationship stronger.
- It makes them feel that you are genuinely looking out for them and are not after just their money.
- As you are giving a chunk of your time to check upon them it will further deepen their trust in you and intensify your relationship with them.
Do not be defensive
Empathy will always be your biggest tool when it comes to building relationships with leads. As your potential customer, they will have several concerns and it is your responsibility to take care of them. Rather than being defensive, you should be empathetic towards them. Put yourself in their shoes and address their concerns diligently. Your product is supposed to be a solution to their problems and hence, you ought to be answerable to all their concerns.
Transparency to deepen your relationship
Lying to your leads will only result in their increased expectations and eventual disappointment. Be crystal clear to your leads about the product that you are offering. For instance, if you are in the cloud telephony business then be explicit about all the features that your product offers or can incorporate. Do not leave room for them to assume and do not provide them any information that you are unsure about. For instance, MyOperator offers a cloud telephony system. They have all the features and everything they offer on their website itself.
Establish a communication structure
Design a firm communication structure to interact with every lead. This structure should be as per the convenience of the leads and they shouldn’t feel that they are being poked all the time by you as that will put a bad impression on your business. For instance, before reaching out to a lead confirm an ideal time for them to talk, through text message or a professional email. You cannot expect your lead to be available for you at all times or vice-versa. So book a time slot with them and feel free to give them a heads up too about the plot of the conversation (use outbound calling feature if needed). That way you will be able to keep your conversation concise without having to indulge in small talk.
Use quirky emails
The sole purpose of building a relationship with your lead is to finally convert them into a client. And throughout the relationship, you need to keep them interested and keep attracting them to your business. Writing witty and quirky mails will do the same. Keep your mails professional yet witty, after all, who doesn’t enjoy having a few laughs in between. This tactic will not only make them read your entire mail but also allure them towards your business. So captivate their attention right from the beginning by your mail subject.
Now that you are in touch with your lead how do you make your relationship with them better? Push notifications are one way to do that. There are several brands that use push notifications for both their customers as well as leads. Amazon is one of them. Push notifications are important as you can alert your leads about any new offers and additions to your products. Furthermore, you can reach out to all your leads in one go through them. This is one way that you stay in touch with your leads without bothering and interfering with their regular routines. Most of all, do not forget to add CTA as studies have shown that CTAs are capable of boosting push notification campaigns by 40+%.
Building relationships with leads is the first and the most crucial step to landing a client. But this relationship goes beyond that as it has several other benefits as well:
- It gives you a headstart and improves your ability to cross-sell.
- It increases your conversion rate.
- If you build a healthy relationship at the beginning itself, there are more chances of getting referrals from your leads.
- Relationships are built on the basis of mutual trust so when terms and conditions are clear, there are fewer chances of customer attrition.
- You build long-lasting relationships and increase your customer retention.