A lot of people look for advice when it comes to relationships.
How can I communicate better with my co-workers? How do I relate more to my children? How do I rekindle the romance with my husband?
While these all sound like articles in any one of many popular magazines, these are all real relationships that people want to nurture.
However, there are two important relationships that you might not have considered. These two relationships hold the key to the success of your business.
Just like with any important relationship in your life, your business itself needs tending in order to grow. I know I don’t need to tell you that, I’m sure you’re well aware.
What I did want to tell you about were two important relationships within your business that you should not only be aware of but make a priority to nurture.
These two important relationships within your brand are:
- Your relationship with your audience
- Your audience’s relationship with your brand
As with any other relationship, nurturing these will help to solidify your business. The beauty of these two relationships is that they go hand in hand. You can’t nurture one without affecting the other.
When you take the time out to be extra helpful to a prospective client, it immediately impacts how they see your brand. When you market your brand in a warm and friendly manner, it directly affects how people view you, the owner.
So let’s take a closer look at 5 important reasons to establish special relationships within your business.
1. Because people do business with people they trust
There’s a reason why when you need a service, you ask your friends for a recommendation. You take recommendations from almost anyone before you search for a service randomly on the internet.
Even if you don’t know the person well, the fact that this person has paid for this service and they’re recommending the person who worked with them, takes a little bit of the scary factor out of the situation for you. They have gone first and can give you an idea of what it’s like to work with them and, depending on the type of work they had done, you might even be able to see the product. It is the same when people are looking to do business with you.
When you prove yourself to be a trustworthy person that does good work, you take the scary factor out of the equation for them.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure that every step of your process is handled well. When people feel comfortable, they work better with you and the entire project outcome is better. They will also come back which is equally important!
If part of our work is to make sure we get warm leads, what’s a better lead than a happy client?
When they’re very happy with your work, they’ll not only come back, they’ll bring friends too! So making sure your customer service skills and your overall project process is smooth can make a big difference in your bottom line.
That’s also why testimonials and reviews are huge. When people who have never worked with you see a great testimonial, they feel better. They start to get a better sense of what it’s like to work with you through someone else’s eyes. If they had a good outcome, surely, they’ll have the same.
So make sure your customer service is top notch, your process is smooth and that you’re collecting all those testimonials to use as badges of honor on your website.
2. Because everyone loves feeling special
And we’re back to customer service! Great customer service stands out that’s just the truth and people go out of their way to get it. You go out of your way to get it too.
Everyone would rather pay up to be pampered and your clients are no different.
If you offer great work and a fantastic customer service experience you’re set. I’d be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn’t prefer to work with someone who is friendly, easy to work with and goes above and beyond over someone who is difficult to work with and just plain unpleasant, even if their work was slightly better.
Chances are good that your clients are looking for lasting relationships. Most of my clients are. They want to be able to work with someone long term. It’s a drag to have to interview and vet someone new often. When you find someone you work well with you want to keep them for a long time. So it’s no wonder that most people would prefer to work with someone who knows what they’re doing AND is a pleasure to work with.
So think about your process, from the moment they first email you and what your response is like.
Do you put in an auto-responder or will you answer each email personally? When you chat with them, what kind of language are you using, is it positive? Is your demeanor happy, will they find it pleasant to work with you?
Keep all these things in mind. Do what’s right for your business, of course, but make sure that if you want to charge premium prices, you’re giving your clients premium treatment!
3. Because they want to be sure that you can help THEM
It never fails. I have set up a portfolio of my work so that prospective clients can see my work and what I can do. But when we sit down to chat about their project, they say: “Yeah, but do you have anything you can show me that’s like what I’m asking for?”
People want to know that you will do whatever it takes to help THEM.
So when you spend time showing them what you do they start to better imagine how you do the same for them. It’s tricky to do at times but extremely beneficial because it calms their fears. There’s nothing scarier than handing over a credit card without feeling confident that what you’re going to get really is going to solve your problem.
Make it easy for your prospective clients to see that your work is top notch and that even if you don’t have something that’s EXACTLY like what they need, you’ll have no problem creating a custom solution for them.
I do this often. As a matter of fact, this happened to me today and I had to search among my projects to bring some up to make this client feel like I could really offer her a good solution. Typically, they’ve already seen my portfolio and just want an additional bit of reassurance that we’ll be a good fit.
We’re always looking for ways to weed out bad clients from good ones. So it can be beneficial to spend a little more time listening to their specific concerns to know if we truly can help them. If we can’t, then we’ll be better equipped to recommend them to someone else.
Showing you genuinely care about your clients’ businesses goes a long way in establishing trust!
Another way to reaffirm that you care about helping them is by offering free help. You can help your audience by writing helpful articles or blog posts, doing Facebook Lives, running a free group where you answer questions, creating a free resource library, the possibilities are endless. When you make this extra effort you establish that you care about more than just their wallet, you genuinely care about helping them.
4. Because people want to come back
It might be hard to believe when you’re trying to land your first few clients, but most people actually want to settle in for long term relationships.
I have clients going back 5, 10 and even 15 years. A lot of them tell me they love that they can depend on me. The feeling is mutual!
When you establish a great relationship with a client, they’ll want to come back and you’ll want them to come back.
It’s hard enough to weed out bad clients. When you find a great one, do everything you can to accommodate them and make your relationship one that they keep wanting to return to. Not only will this keep more work in your pocket, but it opens up possibilities for great referrals.
When your clients are happy with their working relationship, it’ll show and they’ll tell their colleagues, specially those in need of your services. I’ve also found that when you have a great working relationship, your clients tend to ask if you can do something first, before they go to anyone else, even if it’s not something you offer normally.
This can open up an opportunity to learn while being paid!
5. Because they want to recommend you
When you nurture your audience and offer effective products and great service, you WILL get referrals.
People love offering up their experiences and expertise to someone in need.
Recommending you makes them feel good too. The relationship you’re building doesn’t just go one way. When you go out of your way to help someone and you transform their life, whether it be in a big or small way, they will want to reciprocate. It all stems from a deep feeling of gratitude.
Make your audience feel a deep sense of gratitude whenever you do something for them. Recommending you not only does something nice for you, to whom they are thankful, it also does something nice for them. It makes them feel good about themselves. It’s a great feeling when you have just the right product or person to recommend to a friend in need.
Providing outstanding service and valuable products offers this opportunity to your audience and they’ll happily recommend you. They’ll be doing a great thing for their friend and for you. Win-win.
Nurturing relationships with your audience seems like it might be a thankless job.
A lot of times, we might feel like we’re not talking to anyone. We’re jumping on FB Lives, shooting out messages on Social Media, writing blog posts that we feel might not be read by anyone.
The truth is, they are listening, they are reading, they are watching, we just don’t necessarily see them. Your audience is there though and when they’re ready, they’ll start building a relationship with your brand. They’ve already been associating great things and good feelings with your brand and you’ll be on your way to building brand loyalty!