Part 4: Are You a Keeper or a Loser?
Contributed by Kim Jennings-Eckert
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is the relationship with my clients. I love to meet new people and learn about them. I’m not talking surface knowledge or just enough to pass as knowing them – I truly want to get to know you, your family, your interests and what makes you tick. I just love people.
It makes me smile when my daughter makes comments, such as, “you know EVERYONE” or “I wish I could talk to people like you do.” My genuine desire to know people and engage in conversation is one my biggest strengths. I learned this about myself pretty early in life. Like most schools, we were given various opportunities and electives to try, ideally meant to hone in on our interests – i.e. debate club, band, choir, sports, school newspaper – and the list continues. Although I think most narrow it down pretty quick, I tried almost everything! I played the flute (well, I attempted it), drums, cello, choir, color guard, drama – and I’m sure I’m missing a couple others. The point is I knew I liked people and I learned how to build – and keep – relationships.
Building long-term relationships
In my role, I work hard to make a sale. I take time to build a relationship of trust and understanding. Then it’s also my job to keep the relationship. Trust is a no-brainer. A prospect won’t hand you their business; it must be earned.
What about understanding? In the marketing world, there are many companies that offer services under the marketing umbrella – promotional product companies, radio, TV, print mediums, to name a few. As far as marketing agencies, they may focus on a particular specialty service such as digital marketing, content marketing, or a holistic approach, like our company. When I speak with a prospect, it is my job to ensure they have a full understanding of our service offerings and remind them occasionally, as people can get busy and simply forget. For example, I could not tell you all the services our in-house printer vendor may offer. It may be good for them to remind me on occasion in case I have a need for another service. <wink, wink> On the flip side, if a client assumes your contracted for product A & B but you only sold product A – then you may have a disillusioned client.
I cannot stress enough that most long-term clients remain loyal if you set it up correctly from the beginning and continue throughout the relationship. From the first meeting, to closing the sale to managing the account, it’s absolutely KEY to establish trust and keep an understanding of your role in the relationship for a long, successful journey. Otherwise, if there’s any confusion as to your role, they will end the relationship. You decide – are you a keeper or a loser?