Each year, business-to-customer (B2C) companies devote about 15.6% of their revenue to marketing. Business-to-business (B2B) customers spend less than that percentage on advertising, but not by much.
These figures may not seem much at first, until you look at the dollar amounts involved. In the U.S. alone, companies are spending billions of dollars on marketing efforts each year.
When you’re spending that much money on advertising, you want to make sure that you’re getting value for your investment. One proven way to get long-term results for your current marketing spend is by investing in relationship selling.
In today’s business world, eCommerce businesses must improve on traditional methods of personal selling to curve a stronger buyer-seller relationship. That means providing transparency, honesty, and value through a strong relationship selling campaign.
So, what exactly is relationship selling? How can it benefit your business? More importantly, how can you implement relationship selling in your company?
If you are asking yourself these questions, you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we reveal the ABCs of relationship selling.
What is Relationship Marketing?
Relationship selling refers to a business marketing strategy whose focus is customer retention, satisfaction, experience, and lifetime customer value (CLV). This marketing approach entails connecting with your current customers, while acquiring new ones through value-driven sales and marketing.
Unlike other advertising techniques that look to drive a quick sale or conversion, relationship selling is centered on the notion of developing relationships with clients for the long-term. The idea is to engage and inspire prospects, building everlasting relationships that lead to continual custom and brand advocacy.
How Can Relationship Selling Help Your eCommerce Business?
Now that you’ve seen what relationship selling is all about, you might be wondering if this marketing approach is worth investing in. The truth is relationship selling has arguably the highest return on investment (ROI) of all marketing strategies.
Below, we discuss some of the best ways relationship marketing can boost your company.
It Boosts Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
All relationship selling techniques are meant to create loyal customers. Through different creative local marketing ideas, the company enhances repeat business, which is highly valuable in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Why exactly should you focus on boosting customer retention? The obvious reason is that it’s a lot cheaper than attracting new customers. 70% of businesses state that they spend less to retain their current customers than on acquiring new ones.
Besides, most loyal customers go on to become your brand ambassadors and advocates. They’re happy to recommend your products and services to their family, friends, and business associates. This word-of-mouth advertising can earn you a larger fanbase and more conversions.
You Create Positive Brand Awareness
A central part of relationship marketing is developing content and initiatives designed to meet the wants, needs, and pain points of your target customers. Doing so creates positive awareness for our brand, which is vital in today’s business world.
Customers who have a favorable experience with you are likely to give you more business.
You Experience a Reduction in Marketing Expenditure
Marketing to acquire new customers can be an expensive and time-consuming affair. Relationship marketing focuses on providing an excellent customer experience and fostering customer loyalty. This way, you boost customer retention and don’t have to spend more on marketing to them.
The smart interactive marketing ideas you invest in relationship selling keep your clients satisfied, encouraging them to recommend your brand to others. This free advertising is more credible to potential clients than paid marketing. With time, you’ll find that you hardly need to spend money on marketing.
Relationship Selling Earns You Good Reviews and Testimonials
As an eCommerce business, you know how important it is to get more Google reviews for your business. Positive online reviews can earn you the trust of potential clients. For the vast majority of online clients, online reviews are as credible as personal recommendations.
Through relationship selling, you can encourage your satisfied customers to review your business online. Some of them will even be willing to give video testimonials. Don’t be afraid to request your loyal clients to leave a review about you on your website.
You Can Get Honest Feedback from Clients
Most customers will walk away from a company after a bad experience without saying anything. That’s a huge problem, as it means you might be losing valuable customers without knowing why they’re abandoning you in the first place.
Through relationship marketing, you develop a bond with your customers that makes them willing to share their honest opinions with you. That’s because they trust you and expect that you’ll listen to their concerns.
Customer feedback is invaluable when looking for ways to improve your products or services.
You Can Design Your Future Campaigns Better
Relationship marketing provides valuable insights into customer behavior. This information is essential in making business decisions.
The feedback you get from your current clients offers clues about your future clients. This way, you can tailor your marketing campaigns to suit a specific segment of the population, basing it on the personas of your existing customers. The result is a higher ROI on your future marketing campaigns.
You Get More Profits
The longer the relationship between you and your customers, the more profitable the association. We already mentioned that it costs next to nothing to market to customers who are already loyal to your brand.
Satisfied customers are also much more likely to buy goods and services in larger volumes than new clients. The result is higher profits. Recent research shows that boosting your customer rates by a mere 5% can increase your profits by up to 95%.
Your Customers Receive Relevant Information
The best relationship marketing campaign offers clients ample information, so they’re empowered to make the right purchasing decisions. This is beneficial for both you and your clients. Customers who have the necessary details to make the right decisions have fewer complaints once they’ve purchased a product or service.
Always provide customers with a variety of choices, so they have more control over what they buy. When customers have enough comparative information, they can maximize their savings and make quicker transactions.
Relationship Marketing Tips
With all the benefits of relationship selling, it’s no wonder why more eCommerce businesses are investing heavily in it. So, how do you build a successful relationship marketing program? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Be an Active Listener
One of the biggest mistakes that salespeople make is get too focused on closing the deal. They ramble on without taking the time to listen to their clients. Because of this, they lose the chance to connect with their clients.
If you’d like your clients and prospects to like you more, you need to take the time to understand their challenges and needs. Doing so helps you tailor your pitch and your solutions more effectively.
Relate with Clients on a Personal Level
Relationship selling is all about building friendships with your customers and prospects. You don’t need to make small talk to achieve this. Instead, you want to focus on conversations that add value.
Seek ways to learn more about their interests. What are they posting online? If your client is another business, follow their company news.
The idea is to spark conversations with your customers and prospects about things you both have interests in. Relating with your clients on a personal level builds your profile as an actual human being with something engaging to say, not just another uninteresting salesman.
Focus on Adding Value
One of the most powerful things you can do to gain credibility is by helping your clients and customers see you as an advisor they can trust. Seek new ways to add value to the lives of the people you serve. This includes offering informative and relevant content.
Sometimes, you’ll need to help your clients and prospects connect with another service provider. The goal is to make sure that your actions are benefitting your clients.
Customize Your Solutions
Every customer is unique, and it helps to treat them that way. Once you’ve established the needs and challenges of your prospects, come up with personalized solutions to address their pain points.
Combine the feedback you get from your customers with your product or service expertise to create winning solutions for each of your prospects.
Listen to Objections and Ease Them
It’s only natural that consumers have objections and doubts. Relationship marketing involves discussing these objections carefully with your customers and prospects. The idea is to understand what concerns they have and take measures to ease them.
Keep in mind that both you and your customer or prospect are one team. That’s why you should never be defensive or combative. Instead, use follow-up questions to ensure you understand your customers’ concerns before you address them.
Be Totally Honest
Salespeople are often portrayed unfavorably. Chances are, many of your prospects will tread lightly when interacting with you because of what they’ve heard about salespeople.
It’s crucial that you remain honest from the start. Provide accurate information about everything, from solution fit to the pricing. More importantly, ensure there are no hidden surprises in the contract.
Sometimes, you might lose a particular sale by being completely honest with a prospect. However, clients will appreciate you for your honesty and might refer others to you.
Always Keep Your Word
Closely related to honesty is the ability to keep your promises to your clients. The moment you break your word, your reputation suffers. If you said you’d deliver something or follow-up on an issue, be sure to do it.
Sure, life happens, and things come up, but always go out of your way to stick to your commitments and dates. If for some reason you can’t, alert your clients in advance and seek ways to avert the inconvenience if possible.
Most of your prospects will notice when you are faking it. That’s why you should strive to be real at all times. Once a prospect realizes that you’re not genuine, you’ve lost your chance to connect with them.
Remember, no business is perfect. Your prospects don’t expect you to be unless you act like you are.
When you are yourself, you come across as more human and have an easier time creating relationships. More importantly, your prospects are likely to be more human when you make a mistake, as other humans do.
Relationship selling doesn’t happen overnight, particularly when you deal with high-ticket products or services. It’s going to take time and will involve considerable following up and back-and-forth. It’s essential that you remain patient with your prospects.
The pricier the item you’re selling, the more the time you can expect between your first contact and closing.
Consider a Loyalty Program
A creative loyalty program can go a long way in boosting customer retention. A large percentage of consumers participate in loyalty programs, so you may want to explore this avenue.
Some of the most successful loyalty programs involve brand partner awards, VIP access passes for loyal consumers, discounts, gift cards, and so on. Track the offers that have the best results and strengthen them.
Practice Social Selling
Sales cycles can take a long time. Use this time to connect with your prospects on social media platforms.
Why should you include relationship marketing in your social media content calendar? Because it works. The majority of CEOs and VPs in B2B companies use social media when making purchasing decisions.
Top sales reps that make social media part of their sales techniques tend to outsell their peers. That’s because almost all online shoppers are already on social media. By interacting with your prospects’ social content, leaving comments, and sharing their content on your social media platforms, you’re building potentially profitable relationships.
Use Relationship Selling to Grow Your Business
Relationship selling has been around for a long time, and it’s easy to see why it still remains a popular marketing approach for eCommerce business today. Few marketing techniques are more effective in customer retention, which is the holy grail of marketing in today’s competitive business world.
Would you like assistance in your digital marketing efforts? Contact us today for a digital marketing review and guidance.
Owner and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry. With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.
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About the author...
Located in the heart of the Emerald Coast - Destin, FL, founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization / and PR campaigns, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry.
With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.