Developing a long-term customer relationship is very similar to dating. How you grab a prospect’s attention is critical. Advertising, direct mail, public relations, or a website may be the first step towards starting the relationship, but don’t let your marketing effort be another tacky pick-up line. What you say and how you say it will determine whether the prospect will be interested in starting a relationship or respectfully decline your offer to have a drink.
Getting the prospect to meet with you is only the first step in the relationship building process. Taking the relationship to the next level requires your marketing effort to make an impression that will create interest and have them call you the next day. However, it is not about tricking the prospect into being interested. Don’t make them think your first date will be a magical evening of dining aboard your private jet and dancing in Paris when you know you are only able to take them out for fast food. Make sure you are able to provide one hundred percent of what you claim and that they are expecting an experience you can provide. Otherwise, there will be no hope for a second date.
You may spend significant resources developing marketing materials to spark interest and get you that first date, but don’t forget that your prospects are also judging your company by everything you say and do. Once the prospect walks through your door, you must take great care to create an experience that resonates with the prospect and meets their expectations.
Instead of focusing on just marketing to develop the relationship, you must continually devote the resources necessary to examine all aspects of your business in order to determine what is adding to or subtracting from the experience needed to build a lasting relationship with a prospect. If you want this potential loyal patron to become more than a prospect, you need to do everything you can to ensure that they have an extraordinary experience each and every time they are with you.
If you develop a meaningful relationship based on trust while providing consistent experiences beyond expectations, your cash register will be ringing – just like church bells – to celebrate the relationship’s success.
© 2009, Dave Lubelczyk. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, please contact IMAGEidentity.