Obtaining and keeping customers loyal to your brand is the secret to success. Great products at the right price should be the foundation of your business, however there are other factors that can also influence your customers to keep coming back.
Individuality - By actually being aware during every conversation that all customers are individuals who can and will react differently to the way you do business is a best kept secret.
This may seem like basic common sense but individual agenda's come into play with every customer enquiry, what they want at the outset may not fall in line with what they actually need now - the deciding factor in the buying process.
1. Want vs Need
Discovering your customer's actual need to buy rather than the initial want with careful questioning will give you the best chance for a sale. Your willingness to communicate in the right way will also demonstrate how much you value their business and this is all part of building a connection and creating a rapport with them to create a bond of loyalty.
- Listen carefully
- Don't jump to offer a quick solution
- Summarise your understanding of the need.
2. Customer individuality
- To be heard you need to speak the same style of language as your customer, tune into the conversation carefully and use the same or a similar narrative as them to be understood.
- Don't get cross if you ask a question and you don't get the response you need, remember - you are most likely asking the question in the wrong way, so listen and try again.
3. What your customer needs to know
- Does your customer need facts, or your story to back up your credibility or do they just need a price?
Famous scientist Dr Edward De Bono discovered there a 6 different types of people, each whose communication approach will be different
Process person - Needs a technical or practical overview of the making process.
Cautious person - Needs reassurance about the product or about your credibility.
Feelings person - Needs to base a buying decision on their emotional response to you or the product.
Factual person - Needs critical information before buying.
Benefits person -Needs a good reason to buy.
Creative person - Needs to know more about your creative process.
- If your response to a question about price (a factual question) is to tell your customer how you made the item and what inspired you to make it (a creative response) then your customer could find this irritating enough to switch off because you don't have the answer they want to hear.
Heard a request for a fact?...reply with the fact.
- Not everyone is a creative person, don't assume your passion for your product will immediately get a sale, there could for example be a budget issue whose importance overrides any narrative about the making story, however marvellous.
- By just being aware that there are these individual differences between us all can give you enormous insight when dealing with customers.
You don't need to analyse every detail, but you do need to really listen.
Customers are more likely to buy and keep buying from people they like and trust so building a rapport is vitally important.
5 Tips for building a rapport with your customer
Show a willingness to understand your customer's wants and then communicate how you can supply their actual need.
Go out of your way to be helpful and be professional at all times.
Run an efficient business and prove your reliability.
Be a likeable friendly person who is genuinely interested in doing business.
Reward customer loyalty by being appreciative.
Competing for your share of the market is tough when your prices are comparable to your competitors, however excellent customer relations skills can give your creative business the edge.
About the author |
Dawn Meaden-Johnson Dawn has over 30 years’ experience working in customer facing Creative and Commercial Industries and in Further Education, including at Birmingham City University School of Jewellery for 10 years, during which time she has worked extensively with national and international clients.
A Silversmith graduate of Birmingham City University School of Jewellery, Dawn still creates contemporary Art Jewellery under the brand Dawnstorm.co.uk
Dawn is a Jewellery Industry Training consultant and the Founder /Director of The Bespoke Jewellery Training Company which provides one-to-one practical tuition for Jewellers of any skill level in the studio's of some of Britain's finest Jewellers, Goldsmiths and Industry Specialists. Dawn is also and a member of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery.