Relationship marketing is no longer a new buzz word (or even two) and obviously itâ€™s here to stay.
Relationship marketing is all about looking at your customers and your relationship with them in a new light. Rather than develop a product or service and market it to the customers, relationship marketers think about what the customers want and adapt their product development strategy accordingly.
Itâ€™s about customization to meet the needs of the individual. Relationship marketing is based on getting feedback and using it to develop and improve your service. In relationship marketing, feedback is sought before a complaint occurs. This helps to:
- Identify potential problem areas before the customer does
For many companies, it has become practice to encourage customers to provide such information via the website. You need good quality information if you are to have a two-way relationship with your customer.
Have customers changed? In a word – Yes! But you knew that already. How have they changed?
- Are more demanding
- Have higher expectations
- Have a more pressurized lifestyle
- Want everything, but donâ€™t necessarily want to pay for it
- Are less tolerant
- Want more for their money, time and effort
- Are much more aware of their rights â€“ influenced by consumer rights programs
- Are driven by customer service issues in their own workplace
- Are more likely to seek recommendation from friends and colleagues than rely on advertising
- Are driven by new technology â€“ particularly the internet
- Donâ€™t want to be sold to â€“ they want to be part of the process, not part of the audience.
But â€“ the key to supplier differentiation lies within these increased expectations, since customers now value closer links with efficient, competent suppliers, who are willing to act as long term allies, and that means speaking their language.
As an exercise, list out your ten most important customers. Then think about everything you know â€“ really know – about them. For example, do you know:
What their commercial objectives are in 2013?
What their trading trends are? Up, down or static?
Are they expanding or contracting?
Did they make a profit last year?
And most important of all, do you know where or how you can make a significant contribution in helping them achieve their overall goals this year?
How can you help them save, gain, reduce, increase or improve?
Those are the five magic words that will make you very attractive â€“ if indeed you genuinely do have something to bring to their party.
They have absolutely no interest in you, your company, your past successes, your ability to stage a dynamic presentation, even your products/solutions, unless they impact on their commercial objectives, profitability, market share, overall success etc.
In short, customers today buy for their reasons, not ours.
We have met the Sales 2.0 sales professional, welcome to the Sales 3.0 customer.
News: Later today – “How much later JF?” I hear you mutter somewhat impatiently. “Around 8am Eastern (1pm GMT)” I reply, pleased that you are remotely interestedÂ Â – we will be launching Top 10 Blog Posts over at Top Sales WorldÂ Is this snippet of news significant? Yes, I believe it is. Rather than have you roam around the sales space aimlessly, we will place the best 10 posts in one location every week. Then, we will decide which one is the very best, and share our decision with you. In fact, we will go even further; we willÂ also select a monthly winner from the four weekly victors. So you see, nothing is too much trouble for our time-strapped TSW visitors.