Advancing Your Relationships
Let’s not kid ourselves, we all clearly understand how the difference between a strong, valued relationship and a competitive relationship with our clients feels. However, what’s often missing is the discipline to measure and monitor the quality of their relationships. Worse, there is no organizational strategy to take action in a way that continually advances the relationships.
Sadly, companies that don’t have a plan just go ahead and budget for a 20% or greater loss in their client base! That puts the sales team on the proverbial hamster wheel — trying to sell faster than clients are leaving but never really experiencing breakthrough growth.
Did you know that there is a proven methodology to measure relationships and ensure that once you bring on a client, you continually advance your relationship with them? It consists of adopting these two basic principles:
1. Always Be Grateful for The Customer
You must be in the customer business. Not the manufacturing, professional services, printing, consulting, etc. business, but the customer business.
The following quote is attributed to many leaders throughout history including Mahatma Gandhi and Kenneth B Elliott. The message is powerful and just like our valued personal relationships, we must value our client relationships.
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so."
Hold yourself and your team accountable for recognizing that your clients are the reason for your existence. You see, the client is not a building or a logo. The client is made up of a group of people. People that are looking for positive experiences. People who look to derive value from interactions they have with you. The way you think about your clients influences the way you act toward them. Every "touch" influences their decision on whether they will stay with you, or go elsewhere. Never let anyone blame the client for not valuing you. Beware of phrases such as "They just don’t get it." "This customer is dumb." "What a pain in ... " If the client doesn’t value you, you simply haven’t done your job, yet. Look in the mirror, find the reason and fix it.
2. Implement a Data-Driven Process That Will Monitor the Health of Your Client Relationships
Your ability to keep a client is directly related to your ability to deliver on what you promised when you sold them AND your ability to continually adapt to their changing needs and wants. If you do this, you will strengthen and advance the relationships you have and grow your business. And guess what? No matter how talented your salespeople are, their perspective of the client relationships is way too insubstantial to rest the fate of your company upon. You need a fact-based, data-driven way to measure and monitor the strength of your relationships and swiftly take the necessary actions to advance them.
At Butler Street, we feel so strongly about the need to focus on Advancing the Relationships, that we built an entire cloud-based Account Management program around it, called ClientFit. This program focuses on reducing client risk including:
- The ability to measure and monitor every relationship within your client so you can take the necessary actions to advance each relationship. The fact is that no relationship stays static; you are either advancing it, or it’s moving backward.
- Identification of the right actions you need to take that will strengthen the relationships you have, increase your retention, expand your share of wallet and provide referrals.
One key component of measuring client risk is understanding how they feel about you. We recommend the Net Promoter Score Survey on a continual basis to give you fact-based and data-driven actionable insights. The Net Promoter Score process is the perfect opportunity to build both gratitude for the client and a data-driven process for measuring client relationships into the fabric of your organization. If consistently administered and executed upon, you will differentiate your organization, advance your relationships and experience growth through high client retention, expansion and acquisition. Visit www.aremyclientsloyal.com to learn more. We’d love to help you grow!
Butler Street, a leading management consulting, training and research firm focused on client and talent development, has formed an alliance with Printing Impressions, America's most influential and widely read resource for the printing industry, to provide the de facto industry standard for measuring customer loyalty through its Best of Print & Digital Customer Survey.
If you are interested in understanding how Net Promoter Score and the Best of Print and Digital can help you grow your business, go to www.bestofprintanddigital.com
To take part in the 2017 Best of Print and Digital go to www.bestofprintanddigital.com.
Click here to watch the Printing Impressions interview with Mike Jacoutot, founder of Butler Street, and Mark Subers, president of Printing, Packaging and Publishing at NAPCO Media, as they discuss the new partnership program.
Mary Ann McLaughlin serves as a Managing Partner at Butler Street, a leading management consulting, training and research firm that focuses on client and talent development. Prior to Butler Street, she served in executive roles for 13 years including chief operating officer, president and managing director. A Six Sigma Champion certified executive, McLaughlin leverages her robust process background with 32 years of sales and operational experience.
A recreational triathlete, McLaughlin has completed three marathons (Chicago 2x, Marine Corps) and numerous triathlons. She holds a B.S. in Marketing from Bradley University.