Guest Blog / May 04

People Matter. Are you in the relationship building business?

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Last Friday, I had the opportunity to attend a leadership session with Walter Bond, former NBA player turned motivational speaker.  He has written the motivational book titled Swim, has well-known customers such as Accenture, Jersey Mike's, Ameriprise, and speaks at nearly 100 events/conventions yearly.  In this leadership session, he outlined his playbook that contributes to one's ability to successfully navigate COVID-19.  I got inspired to write a post.  I'm going to talk about what I feel is the most crucial play in his playbook - customer and employee relationships.  This applies to anyone with a business who has customers.

I'm a firm believer that leadership starts at the top.  Being that leader at the top is an honor and should be handled with care.  Your actions (e.g. what you do, what you say, how you act) does matter and does in fact contribute towards the bottom line of winning or losing.  So, here it goes...

"We are in the people and relationship building business.” - Walter Bond

Nobody likes to be a means to an end (aka a number). You don't and customer's don't.  At iFrog Digital Marketing, we understand the importance of building and fostering relationships. It means making an investment on both ends. It means there is a mutual understanding between both parties, a synergistic partnership.  In fact, you'd hear it from our customer success surveys that we build and foster solid relationships.  Service is a key differentiator between us and our competition.  Of course, this is in addition to our superior products and service offerings.

If you live in the world of sales and you're in the mindset of getting "the transaction", throw that mindset out the window!  What you should be focusing on is building and fostering relationships to ensure you're building a community of brand ambassadors.  You want people who are going to be an advocate for you.  These advocates refer business to you and keep coming back for years!  They become family.  Did you know it costs five times more time, money and energy to acquire a new customer than it does to maintain a repeat customer?

So, what steps should you take when building a relationship that will be sustainable?

  1. Listen.  Yes; actually listen. Understand the customer's needs by letting that person talk and then follow-up with questions to validate their needs. It's better to get their needs right the first time rather than asking multiple times.
  2. Timely Response.  We live in a world where people get information quickly, so remember you're being judged on how quickly you respond.  Text messages are great and often preferred!
  3. Connect.  Reach out not just to make the sale, but to actually see how that person is doing. Ask about their family. Get to know that person.
  4. Ask for Feedback.  Part of a relationship means being open to constructive criticism. Ask the person what you should or could be doing better. 
  5. Repeat Steps 1 - 4.  Practice these steps daily. Make it part of your routine.

Customers are quick to realize your intentions, so it's important you act with genuine intentions.  If you employ all the steps above, it will ensure you're building credibility and trust.  These steps don't just apply to customers, they apply to employees as well.  Who’s with me?  

"Take care of your employees and they'll take care of your customers.” - Richard Branson

Kyle McCracken,
Chief Product Officer, iFrog Digital Marketing

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