Relationship Management Definition, importance, Strategy and Skills
Applying 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 and objectives.
What is Relationship Management?
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.
Importance of Relationship Management
- 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
Relationship Management Strategy
- 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
Relationship Management Essential
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.”
- Court your clients.
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.”
- Talk about yourself.
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 it.”
- Really 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.
Communications should not be limited to email and phone–though both are important follow-up methods
- Be patient.
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.
Relationship Management Skills
- 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 conversion rate.
- 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 existing customers
- 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 competition.
- 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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