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Here is an adage to grow your business by: The most profitable customers tend to be those you have long-term relationships with.
“To have long-term relationships in business, the same factors are present as you have in your personal life,” says author, business coach and consultant Jerry Phillips of Austin, Texas.
Phillips helps develop strategy and execution plans and create and teach processes for consistent and predictable performance. For 14 years the dominant focus for Phillips has been helping companies build exceptional organizations that produce sustainable, predictable revenue with solid profit margins. He is writing a second book on the value of customer relationships.
“The relationship must be mutually beneficial, and it must be based on trust,” says Phillips. “Building trust can and must be an intentional strategy.”
How do you know you’ve built trust?
“In our practice we dig deeply into the relationships our clients have with their customers,” says Phillips. “Most measure the quantity of the work their teams do, but they have few metrics around the quality of the work. They may know how many touches the customer facing team has before they close an order, but they don’t have a way to measure the quality of the meetings.”
Philips decided to focus on five areas that strengthen relationships:
“We also measure the quality of activities and tie those scores with the relationship scores,” says Phillips. “When we find strong relationships, we also find strong, quality activities. Activities that are respectful of the customer.”
The five quality activities Phillips measures are:
- Issue resolution
- Ease of interactions
“Through our conversations and regular surveys with the customers we measure the quality of the ten factors,” says Phillips. “We find a direct correlation between raising the quality scores with revenue growth and profitability.”
Additionally, Phillips can pinpoint where he has a strong relationship within the customer and where he does not.
“There are multiple influencers working inside the customer organization,” says Phillips. “The sales team may have strong relationship with one influencer or one type of influencer, but lack relationships with other influencers. This can lead to disappointing results. Awareness of this challenge allows the team to intentionally address this challenge.”
The big bonus: Having a strategy to address the quality of relationships and activities creates a mutual bond with your high-paying clients.
May 17, 2019 at 01:10PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs