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How to Deepen Your Client Relationships in a Virtual Environment

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In challenging times working virtual and endless information, briefings, and change; people are forced to go for the easier, the less complex, and for what they know and trust. Your clients want a safe pair of hands, and unless you are conveying this message that your current clients will engage with, then many opportunities will pass you by, now and in the future.

Looking at how can you deepen your client relationships in a virtual environment. You must evolve your message, looking at your data, your client relationship, your client insights and seeing [what needs] to be refreshed, to be relevant for the wants and needs of your clients.

Despite the challenge of our times working in a virtual environment, you must seize the moment of opportunity, with short-term messaging that is relevant now, that will help now and support your long-term goal and purpose.

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Below are six strategies from the Scale Your Sales Framework that will help you to deepen your relationship with key customers and ultimately scale your sales:

  1. Retention over Acquisition.
  2. Focus on Who Are Your Key & Most Valued Clients.
  3. Get Feedback and Get Closure to Your Key Customers.
  4. Build Your Online Reputation – Do Not Be Invisible.
  5. Secure Relationship Referrals, reviews, and testimonials.
  6. Get Comfortable on video – Virtual Is Here to Stay.

 

  1. Retention over Acquisition

 

It always surprises me that I find retention, client experience, client success is not a formalized methodology and therefore, not the primary focus.

In today’s B2B environment, a commercial strategy focused on acquisition rather than on retention of existing clients is a flawed strategy.

 

The probability of selling services to an existing client “OR EVEN A FORMER CLIENT” is 60-70%, while the chance of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%. That is a lot of energy for little return.

Not being focused on the greatest gains and the most significant profit centres are wasteful and filtering away valuable resources.

Is acquisition easier than retaining clients? No!

You have probably listened to many presentations on prospecting, sales funnels, content marketing, blar, blar.

Harvard Business Review research state that if you increase retention rates by 5%, then this increases profitability by between 25% and 95%.

 

  1. Focus on Who Are Your Key & Most Valued Clients

 

Not all client is equal.

Gartner research that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from 20% of your existing clients.

Do not value a client based on the amount of revenue but their profitability. Do not judge a client on their value last year but on their potential growth. If you have 10% of the available wallet for this type of service, it is more effective and efficient to work on growing this client, than securing a new client.

Most valuable clients: is about the clients who are the most profitable for your company. These clients buy more or higher-value services than the average client; they are usually only the top 20% of your total clients that collectively deliver 80% of your annual revenue.

You must identify and get on intimate terms with your most valued clients because they are significant contributors to your future revenue stream.

 

Go to ScaleYourSales CustomerX Quiz take the Scale Your Sales CustomerX Quiz and download your Report to see how you can – Get Consistent Growth from Your Most Valued Clients.

  • To Boost Key Client Experiences.
  • To Satisfy Your Buyer Needs and so,
  • Increase Your Sales Revenue.

 

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  1. Get Feedback

 

Do you know what they would say about your practice, your service and how they feel about the client experience?

There are opportunities to see where you can help how you can make it easier, and maybe be more empathetic than you have in the past. For this, you need to understand where their specific challenge is now, or what is their biggest concern.

The key is to keep it short and targeted but to survey your clients to refine what you do and how you do it for them. This is a more significant opportunity to reach your clients as humans during this very human moment in history.

Customer research and social listening allow you to, sharpen your focus and spend valuable and focused time with your clients that are more and more online.

Do not blast every client with the same lengthy ill-conceived questionnaire that feels impersonal, and signal that you do not care about them. Remember this is your key client and one you want to get closer to, to serve their needs better. Instead, plan your questions and perhaps toward the end of a client call ask a pre-prepared question. Or send an online survey with a personal thank you note online card.

You can provide your clients with advice and guidance that keeps them loyal and coming back for more. Only, if you can better retune your message and service to their specific needs, so use this time wisely to gather feedback.

 

  1. Build Your Online Reputation

 

According to Rain Group research, 82% of buyers look up sellers on LinkedIn before replying to outreach efforts.

This is your first stop in developing relationships with potential AND EXISTING clients. You cannot get a seat at your client table if you are invisible. That is you, not your brand, not your company, not the business. People buy you first, then the service you promised, and before the reputation of the company. However, your social profile can reflect poorly on you or your company.

There are many obstacles when it comes to developing relationships virtually, and invisibility is one. Developing rapport is one of the top three virtual selling challenges uncovered in LinkedIn research. If I see you online as a relatable credible human, I am more likely to engage with you and trust you.

 

Share your perspective and knowledge through articles posts, video participation in panel discussions; you have got to be visible online to be credible.

Consistently create and post snackable content instead of the 1-hour session go to 20 minutes, instead of 4-minute videos make it 1 minute. Make everything shorter including newsletters, emails, even calls, your clients have many more worries and distractions working from home or through COVID. Always be respectful of your client’s time and only ever add value that is relevant to their specific needs.

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  1. Secure Relationship Referral

 

There is no marketing better than word of mouth. A client who brings you more clients is more valuable than anybody else, even if they are not your most significant clients.

Digital Intelligence Today tells us that while consumers are 92% more likely to trust recommendations by people they know.

Referrals coming from a satisfied client they know and trust, are 4X more likely to buy, has 37% higher retention and 16% higher lifetime value.

Given this, a referral strategy should be treated less as immediate sales opportunities and more as investments in long-term growth. It is an investment in customer experience and client satisfaction strategies.

 

Make a habit of being personable, and genuine and ask, how are you? Be genuinely interested in the people in the business. You must make a habit of being helpful, sharing quality content, and engaging in meaningful interactions and consistently gain positive reviews with clients and with the focused effort, you will see valued introduction to acquaintances with similar needs. In today’s digital era, clients who leave you positive reviews, create a buzz online. Referral, Testimonials, and Reviews, all social proof has a positive financial value.

 

  1. Get Comfortable – Virtual is Here to Stay

 

The skills you develop now will carry you forward.

A recent Gartner survey showed that 48% of employees would likely work at least part of the time after COVID-19 remotely.

Video is the next best thing after face to face, so turn on your video. People like to talk to real people rather than faceless voices.

However, give your buyers the courtesy of knowing that you are using video in your calendar invitation and invite them to join you. Seeing the other person gives important cues to body language, possible distractions, and you can better tell if your client is confused by their facial expression and tone. People do not like to say, ‘I don’t understand’.

The more comfortable you are on camera, the more comfortable everyone else will be. Practice with your phone on a small tripod calling your family and friends. A recent Zoom survey found that 82% of respondents said there was a greater sense of trust with video. A camera off – conference call, signals disinterest, distraction disengaged, or multitasking – if you were doing this face to face, you would be considered rude. It is better to be present and engaged and make it short and succinct than disengaged.

 

Above all be a force for good and add specific value to each and every client relationship.  Sales is to serve, the more focused you are on delivering the kind of service that will help your customer more forward the more your customer will pay it forward. There are many benefits to working in a virtual environment and one thing is true that we are all in this together.

 

About the Author

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Janice B Gordon helps enterprising companies adapt their sales approach and grow key customers. This has led her to create the popular Scale Your Sales framework. Janice is the Customer Growth Expert an Author, Educator and Consultant ranked 25 of the Top100 Global Business Influencer 2017. Contact Janice to talk about Scaling Your Sales.


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