Put your own stamp on the job

Too many businesses produce the same products these days. You may feel that your product is the best in the world and it may well be, but there are many other companies out there that produce nearly the same product as you do.

Too many businesses produce the same products these days. You may feel that your product is the best in the world and it may well be, but there are many other companies out there that produce nearly the same product as you do.

It is very important to differentiate both your product and your company from your competitors.

You also need to build a personal relationship between your customers and an individual in the company, for example, the owner.

You need to develop a relationship and build rapport and trust with both the company and the owner.

Personalise the interaction. Know your customers by name. Do not refer to them by their company name and say, for example, "Graphicor is here".

That is a company's name, not a person's name.

Business is about building relationships and you build these relationships through effective communication. You communicate with your suppliers, your employees and your affiliates, but you also have to effectively communicate with your customers.

Turn your customers into clients because once people become clients, they will value the relationship more and will stay with your company longer. The lifetime value of that individual will be exponentially higher.

To turn a customer into a client, you must offer the best service. You must offer valuable service, advice and care. You must be an expert on your product and the benefits that your product offers. Take your clients under your wing and offer them your best advice.

Instead of having a product which customers buy on the basis of price only, you need to have a differentiated product. You need to have a personalised relationship with your customers and you need to turn these customers into clients by offering them quality advice.

Once your customers develop trust in you, you are well on your way to turning them into lifetime clients.

Always have your customers' interests at heart. Even if there is a short-term drop in profits, you will make it up and greatly increase it in the long-term.

Although a phone call will always be more personal, an e-mail is a very effective tool for building relationships with your customers. If you can, be sure to answer all your incoming e-mails with a quality reply and quality advice.

A newsletter is also a very important business tool. If you don't have a newsletter, you are missing out big time. You are missing out in a great way to strengthen relationships with your clients, encourage repeat sales and earn the trust of your valued clients.

If you are a serious company hoping to survive, you must have a newsletter.

In between your monthly newsletter, send a follow-up e-mail to each customer that has bought from you recently. It is a good idea to give clients time to evaluate your products.

Creating this loop of client feedback is essential for knowing what the market wants, keeping your competitive edge and constantly refining and improving your products. If you want to increase your market share and grow your company, obtaining and analysing feedback from customers is crucial.

Make yourself available and always be honest when answering clients' questions. Answer e-mails and questions on orders personally or employ trained support staff to answer each question and provide quality advice on your behalf. Impress your clients with your sincerity and quality of advice.

Once you have all the above in place, you will begin to develop strong relationships with your clients, greatly increase their lifetime value and have turned fickle customers into recruiters who will encourage their friends and family to buy your product too. Remember that word of mouth is king.

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