Whether they’ve landed a project that will take years to complete or a contract that will renew every year, vendors need to win customer trust as quickly as possible.
You’ve heard that it costs at least five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one – but Forbes reports that taking care of your existing customer base and increasing retention rate by as little as 5 percent can increase profits by 25 percent to as much as 95 percent.
There are only so many HOAs or property management companies in the area you serve, and the competition for their business is increasing. It’s worth your while to develop long-term relationships. But how do you nurture those relationships and keep them running smoothly? Below we discuss a few ways to earn trust and keep it.
Providing excellent customer service is the best way to win a customer’s loyalty, but figuring out what a customer wants and how to deliver it can take months. Moreover, customer expectations are hardly static. To succeed long term, vendors must learn how to adapt to new management and ownership. A change in management could render years of excellent service moot.
Fortunately, there are lots of steps you can take to get a new relationship off on the right footing and lay the foundation for a long-lasting partnership.
Keep the conversation going
The first step is to take the time to know the HOA or property manager you’re serving. Build rapport by identifying their concerns and priorities; recognize your performance impacts how their community perceives them. Let your client know you understand and take your responsibilities seriously, and demonstrate your commitment by taking a collaborative approach.
Sometimes this can be as simple as passing along a piece of industry news. If you think it’s relevant and helpful, chances are they will too. Proactively sharing information sends the message that you view them as a partner rather than a revenue source. It can fast-track the trust-building process.
“Good relationships do not materialize out of thin air,” observes SalesForce.com.
While you must adapt to each client’s individual communication preferences – email, phone, texting, office visits, etc. – try to remain authentic. Authenticity means being honest about what you can and can’t do and how you would approach solving the customer’s problem.
Lay the groundwork for an enduring relationship up front by clearly reviewing where each party’s responsibilities begin, end and overlap. Once you have confirmed the client’s expectations, let them know what you will need from them. These process-oriented discussions help set a framework for shared responsibility, which is at the heart of all successful partnerships.
Find common ground
Identify areas of shared interest and align around them. You’ll create deeper levels of trust when you identify shared goals, values, and challenges.
Serving is the new selling
Even if you have a good relationship with a property management company or homeowners’ association, you must constantly demonstrate your value.
Ultimately, the job of every vendor is to make their customers’ job easier. If you can’t do that with the products and services you offer, refer them to someone who can. You may also have opportunities to help customers outside of work. Perhaps you can refer them to an auto mechanic, attorney, accountant, school administrator or coach.
Never underestimate the value of your professional and personal connections. To learn how listing your business in our directory can help you build trust with hundreds of community managers and thousands of homeowners’ associations, contact VendorSmart℠ today.