Let’s face it. The main reason why building long-term customer relationships is so hard is because we are constantly searching for new clients! 

As a small business owner, you need to understand more than most that the cost of acquiring new customers can be upwards of five times more than you would need to spend retaining existing customers. 

With this in mind, now is the best time to learn how CRM tools can build long-term customer relationships that will help stabilize your bottom line and enable you to continue growing.

Building long-term customer relationships is hard.

Smaller businesses especially struggle with building long-term relationships because the motivation to attract new customers is far higher, despite the costs also being much higher. Up to five times as much in some cases! 

Most small business owners will also find it more fun seeking out new customers and seeing those numbers rise, and who wouldn’t? Playing with a shiny new toy is way more exciting than one that is already tattered and discolored.

Here is the difference. That old, discolored toy has been your faithful companion since day one. And that’s about where the metaphor ends. Unlike the toy, your “old” client still has so much more to offer your business. 

How to improve customer relationships

It all starts with attracting the right customers in the first place. 

For a small business, it is hard to reign in your marketing efforts, to begin with, because you have an urge to cast your net wide and attract as many new clients as possible.

The problem is that down the line, it is likely that many of these customers will not be interested in what you are offering because they are just looking for the best deal. These are NOT the customers you want to have. 

So why not invest your time in understanding what the customer struggle is in the first place, and then think about how your product can offer the solution. 

This principle will allow you to relate with them more personally as the relationship grows. And it’s these existing customers that are far more likely to make further purchases compared with new prospects because they already trust in you and your business.

But the big question is, how do you keep ahold of these clients who already trust you and believe in your product?

The 5 steps

Here are five tips to guarantee you’ll be more than just a one-hit-wonder with your customers.

1. Follow up

Following up can apply both to new client leads and existing customers. Having done all of the hard work to gain a new client lead, the last thing you want to do is forget about them. Setting a reminder to follow up with them after a suitable period will prove a significant time and resource saver. Likewise, with a current customer, once you have completed a project with them, that doesn’t mean it has to be the end. Schedule a follow-up to ensure 1) your service has proven a success for them and 2) see what else you can offer.

2. Adding value

Communication with your customers doesn’t always have to be incredibly personal. You can add significant value to their customer experience by providing content for their benefit. Probably the most effective method is (still!) email marketing. That long list of emails you have generated with a landing page or form is like a gift from potential clients to be allowed into their space. 

Now that you’re in, tread lightly! 

The last thing you want is to lose all trust by bombarding them with irrelevant information or lackluster sales content. Think about their journey and their struggle. Where are they on this journey, and how can you provide content that will speak to them at this stage? You can categorize your clients and schedule marketing emails to reach them at the right time, constantly reminding them that you are here and eager to offer more. 

3. Automation

Automation is key to ensuring your clients never get left behind. When you juggle so many balls in a small business, it is easy to forget to reach out and connect with them. It is the reason why we have made automation so simple. Create workflow automation to send out categorized marketing emails to your customers (remembering the importance of value). Communication is one of your most valuable tools, and you need to keep your clients up to date with what you are doing as a business.

4. Referrals

Your current customer base is effectively an untapped resource for further business. Never underestimate the value in a testimonial or referral because the best sales pitch will always be from a client who has seen great results from using your product. Most of us will invest more trust in the opinion of what our friends and peers say, far more than any advert or marketing strategy. 

It doesn’t need to feel artificial either. You can schedule a check-in with your current customers, as we stated in the first point, and invite them to offer a testimonial. An alternative method would be to keep the conversation more casual. You want to ensure that they have been happy with your service and request that you use their response as a testimonial after. It is vital in building or reinforcing the trust relationship you have already created. 

5. Rewards

It is common to see advertisements offering special deals for new customers but rarely do you see offers and rewards offered to current customers! You can break this “norm” and reward your long-term customers for being loyal to you and (if you have followed all of our tips so far) for referring you to their peers. Rewards can take many forms, such as personal notes or personalized content. Early access to new services you are providing or free additions to services they are currently using can be better and more valuable alternatives. 

Nurture clients and grow your business with CRM

A good CRM will afford you a host of invaluable resources to manage customer relationships. Client follow-up and automated communication are just two of the tools you can gain to ensure that all of your current customers continue to feel valued long after the initial service. 

Adding these processes into your workflows will also save you significant amounts of time. It is this time that you can put towards growing your business further! With the added facilitation of finding new clients with CRM software and referrals from your (now) valued client base, you can build a more predictable business in line with your growth.

Saving the best till last, what if you could have all of this control and growth potential with a system that is intuitive and easy to use without any excess features you don’t need?
We designed AllClients to offer everything you want from a CRM with nothing you don’t need so that you can start noticing the benefits sooner rather than later.

If you want to see just how easy it is to use, we offer a 14 day free trial with no credit card information required, so you can get started today.

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