Communication is vital to any successful partnership, and thankfully technology has made it more efficient to communicate than ever before. But, we’re all slowly losing valuable facetime with prospects and partners thanks to phone conversations, emails, and other tools that make our lives easier. Technology has even made IT providers so efficient that often you don’t need to go onsite to fix a customer’s problem. While this is great for keeping your customers’ businesses up and running, it comes as no surprise that everyone is spending less and less time in front of customers each day.
That’s why we put such an emphasis on attending and hosting events where we can meet with our partners face to face. On a recent trip to Philadelphia for a Q2 ConnectWise user group and an Intronis MSP Solutions local lunch event, I started to realize how important everyday interactions are.
Having better interactions with your customers
Customers might not remember every conversation you have with them, but for the most part, they do remember you. One thing that really surprised me was the number of partners who recognized our sales team just by the sound of their voice—without previously meeting face-to-face. By developing a genuine connection with our partners, conversations didn’t revolve purely around the products and services we offer or how their current solutions are working out. There were also conversations about how recent wedding anniversaries went, predictions on who was going to win the Stanley cup, and excitement around upcoming Renaissance fairs.
While it’s important to talk to your SMB customers about their goals, pain points they’re experiencing, and ways you can strengthen your partnership, you need to establish a personal connection as well. Most people want to do business with people they can trust. While you shouldn’t waste an hour on the phone talking about the baseball game last night, don’t be afraid to ask a prospect or customer how things are going or using the game as an example to break the ice so that you can have more in-depth conversations with them about their business.
Developing relationships with your SMB customers is critical. In fact, 70 percent of buying decisions are based solely on how the customer feels. Start developing better customer experiences with your SMBs by focusing on these three things:
- Listen to what they’re looking for. Whether they’re a prospect or a customer, if someone is reaching out to you, they probably need your help solving one of their current pain points. Instead of trying to sell them a new solution, listen to what they’re asking you. Don’t just quickly offering them the newest solution in your portfolio.
- Ask questions to dive deeper. Prospective customers might not understand exactly what they’re looking for. Go deeper by asking more questions to get a better understanding of what their needs are.
- Remember the important details. This could include their company goals, tidbits from your last conversation, or even personal details such as what baseball team they like. Pay attention and take notes—doing so can help you build a rapport and strengthen your relationship with the customers and prospects you talk to.
Having that personal connection with your SMB customers can help them feel comfortable approaching you when a question or problem arises. While it isn’t always possible to have face-to-face interactions with your customers, it’s important to take the time to still build a strong rapport with them. After all, you’re 4.2 times more likely to get an appointment if you have a personal connection with the buyer.