Relationship Management Definition, importance, Strategy and Skills
for a job in Nigeria, it is important that you understand Relationship
Management, the importance, as a strategy or as a skill stating clearly why the
right application is important helping the organization achieve its set goals
What is Relationship
Relationship management is a strategy in which an organization
maintains an ongoing level of engagement with its audience.
This management can occur between a business and a customer
(consumer) B2C or between a business and other businesses B2B.
It aims to create a partnership between an organization and
its patrons instead of viewing the relationship as merely transactional.
- Increased sales
- Identifying needs more effectively by
- Understanding specific customer requirements
- Identifying profitable customers
- Enhanced customer satisfaction and retention
- Improved profitability
- Increase value from your existing customers
- Shorten sales cycle
- Help in Management of Resources
- Ability to increase value from existing customers
- Reduce cost associated with client support/service
- Increasing RMs overall efficiency while reducing total sales cost
- Increase customer satisfaction and retention, ensuring that organization’s good reputation in the marketplace continues to grow
- Continuously learn about your customers
- Interpersonal relationship with your customers
- Handle different customers differently
- Focus on retention & adding value more than reducing cost
- Create business rules to drive all customer relationship management decisions
- Retain the right customers
- Present a single face to your customers to make their experience with your organization seamless
- Anticipate customer needs and offer to fulfil them
- Increase value for your customers and of your customers
- Empower yourself with product knowledge and information
- Establish value & credibility
- Project desired image
- Attract high-value relationships for a share of opportunities
- Network strategically
- Identify & know your VIPs
- Diversify your network
- Interpret client information
- Generate referrals/ opportunities
- Become a trusted advisor
- Help others achieve their goals
- Focus on continued improvement
- Adjust to client styles
- Think value in every interaction
- Drive vision & influence
- Contract clearly
- Facilitate groups
- Implement a stay-in-touch program for share of loyalty
- Demonstrate & cultivate loyalty
- Drive vision & influence
- Contract clearly
- Drive customer value
- Enhance point of contact
- Implement relationship plans
- Provide recognition/ Thank You’s
- Track client activity
- Relationship Management Is Like Fitness Training & Athletics, mastery is possible
- Progress is measurable
It is not always enough to create and promote an outstanding
product or service. Often, your sales approach matters just as much as what you
are selling. The most successful RMs creates a connection with the customer by
bringing their own personal touch to the sales process.
“People buy from people that they like and can relate
to,” says Adrian Miller, a sales trainer based in Port Washington, N.Y.
“When RMs owners overlook the importance of that personal connection, they
run the risk of losing the prospect to someone else, usually someone who took
the time to create a relationship and help the prospect buy something rather
than trying to simply sell to them.”
- Model your business on the corner store.
Remember the days of shopping at a local store, where the
owner knew your name and your family, try to emulate that experience. For
instance, remember one or two details about your customer and bring them up in
conversation. “If you know a customer has a daughter graduating from the
university, congratulate them, ask for an update etc., Everyone likes to feel
they’re important enough that someone remembers the little things in their
life. It’s one important way we go past viewing customers as Naira bill to a
human who is appreciated.
- Ask questions first.
Before you launch into a hard sell, take time to probe your prospect. Ask questions that will help your customer explain what he’s looking for. “Once you know that information, it’s much simpler to show how your product or service can satisfy his wants or needs,” Miller says. “Probing is fundamental to relationship building, and the more skilled you are at utilizing open and closed-ended questions, the stronger the relationship you will be able to create.”
Selling is a lot like dating, in that you have to woo
customers and hope they return the attention. “Figure that for every 10
people you want to reach out to, at least 3 will want to set up appointments to
hear more about your product, to get a potential customer to call you back, you
have to hook-up with them somehow. Consider emailing them an article you found
interesting that’s related to their business and then give them time to
respond. Whatever you do, be respectful of their busy schedule.”
Another way to make it personal: Reveal something
about yourself. Just be sure it’s something your customer can relate to and is
not too personal, suggests Lourdes Martin-Rosa, an American Express OPEN
Advisor who helps small businesses win government contracts. “It’s pivotal
to connect in a real way. In fact, according to a study [in] the Journal of
Consumer Research, if a salesperson shares a birthday or a birthplace with you,
you’re more likely to make a purchase from that salesperson and feel good about
listen to the prospect.
There’s nothing more insulting than feeling that you’re
being ignored in a conversation, says Matt Eventoff, owner of Princeton Public
Speaking, an executive training company in Princeton, N.J. “Asking someone
a question and truly listening to the response, rather than beginning to
formulate a response while the other person is speaking, is so important.”
In fact, small business owners may have a distinct advantage in connecting with
customers because they are in touch with them so often. “The smaller the
size of your business, the more encounters you’ll have and the more
opportunities you’ll have to listen to your customers,” Eventoff says.
- Step away
from your computer and smartphone.
While it’s often much quicker and less stressful to
email a potential customer, face-to-face meetings and networking are far more
effective in creating meaningful connections.
These meetings are still among the best ways businesses can establish relationships with decision-makers.
not be limited to email and phone–though both are important follow-up
Like many important things in life, it takes patience to
develop lasting customer relationships. Fight the urge to rush the process.
Take the time to explain how your product or service will benefit the prospect.
Be patient as you go about cultivating this new contact. You
never want to make a prospect feel rushed or hustled.
- Awareness of customer needs- unless you know
what your customers need, you will struggle to attract their attention and you
will have difficulties convincing them to do business with you.
- Direct Marketing skills- learn the basic skills
of direct marketing, this will help reduce the cost of your time and your sales
- Ability to connect with strangers- this is the
most important relationship management skill that will help your client trust
and close deals with you easily
- Ambition & Motivation- these attitudes are
critical and essential skills to reaching out to prospects and retaining
- Sales funnel knowledge- understanding this will
help you know that the more prospects you have in the pipeline, the more
frequent you will close on deals. Spread out your reach.
- Strategic thinking skills- creating strategies
will make you more innovative and give you a competitive edge over your
- Big picture thinking- We are what we think,
therefore think of ways to add value to your customers. People pay for value.
- Fantastic research skills- Research will shed
more light on current trends and also future forecast, do more research and be
the first to tell your customers of current trends in the market.
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