Customer relationship management: give first, receive later

- May 6, 2006 2 MIN READ

People buy goods and services from people they know, like and trust. Therefore you should you should focus more on developing customer relationship management processes, rather than the “one step” marketing of some companies.

One-step marketing isn’t very effective

Much of today’s advertising says “we’ve got these, why don’t you buy one?”. Unfortunately many people won’t respond to this because they may not want one of your widgets at the moment, or may not be sure they want one of your widgets at all.

Rather than challenging your potential prospects with this “one step” approach, why not try genuine customer relationship management techniques first? What could you offer that encourages people to know, like and trust you; to engage in a continuing relationship with you that may ultimately lead to the sale?

Give something first

One of my favourite ideas is to offer a free, no obligation report on something relevant to your target market. For example:

  • Plumber – Thirteen ways to reduce your water usage
  • Accountant – How to legally minimise your business taxes
  • Business Coach – Increase your sales conversion by a minimum 20% in 14 days – guaranteed!

Another angle on this is to “reverse the risk”, i.e. take the risk of purchase away from your prospect. You can do this by offering a free initial trial or free sample of your service and don’t even ask for credit card or payment details. Assuming your service is good, this will build some trust, loyalty and even obligation on the part of the prospect.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business relationships section.

Build the customer relationship

Once your prospects have shown themselves by responding to your offer, you need to continue the relationship. For example, what happens after you send out the free report? Of course, you should aim to make an offer to purchase but many (most?) people will still not be ready to buy.

It is important, then, to maintain and build the relationship with your prospects by staying in touch. Keep giving them items of value – i.e. regular mail-outs of tip-sheets, invites to your seminars, newsletters, industry updates, etc. In amongst this material, but very much of a secondary nature, would be an occasional offer.

It works – in the end

By continuing to provide information of value your prospects are getting to know you and are seeing that you are an expert in your field. At the same time, you are staying ‘top of mind’ so that when they do have a need you can fill, they will more likely think of you than simply scour the Yellow Pages.