I believe that the secret of long term business success lies in the building of the right type of relationships with your clients. Get the relationship right and your clients will stay with you for life, keep buying from you and sing your praises to other people.
But what sort of relationship is the right one? Should you be reactive or proactive? Do you need to provide support or consulting? Is it about doing what everyone else does or about being innovative?
It all depends on the type of service that you provide and the type of relationship that you really want to develop. Let me explain in a bit more detail.
A Supporting Relationship
At Appletree we provide some clients with a Marketing Mentoring service. This is where we spend time on the phone with each client, every month, talking through the marketing they’ve been doing and discussing what they need to do over the next month. It’s about being a sounding board to their ideas, helping to keep them focused and steering them in the right direction. We are responsive and reactive, providing answers to their questions. We provide specialist marketing knowledge to answer those questions and help out with specific projects when they need us to.
These clients typically work with us for 12-18 months, which is long enough for them to get their businesses going and on to the next level. By then, they’ve grown in confidence and learnt enough about marketing to be able to stand on their own two feet. Watching them fly away is very rewarding!
For other clients, we provide a much more proactive marketing service. Every month, we carry out their marketing, according to a plan that we’ve put together, that is designed to help them reach their ‘big picture’ business goals. We come up with new ideas on a regular basis, to keep their marketing fresh and moving forward. Our clients trust us to just get on with their marketing and often, we’ve done something before they’ve even thought about asking us to do it.
These clients see us as a vital part of their team and we have some with whom we’ve been working for many years ? with many more years to come.
So which is the right relationship?
These two types of relationship are quite different and they’re based around what different clients need. Neither is the right relationship or the best one ? they both are. The secret to success is finding out what sort of relationship your different clients want and creating services that allow you to develop them. Then you can look forward to the long term success of your business!