It’s a tall order to inspire customer loyalty. Every business would like to maintain and grow a loyal customer base. However, most revert to manipulative marketing to get the transaction “in the books”. The point is to get them coming back again and again – not buying once from you and then disappearing forever.
Manipulation has its place and it works. Special prices and enticing promotions do influence customer behavior and can make a company or individual very successful. However, there are trade offs: prices and promotions don’t breed loyalty. Over the course of time, they cost more and more, and the gains are only short-term.
It’s not easy to kick the habit of using manipulations to sell. And I’m not advocating that you do! There’s a place for them and they’re very addicting. In fact, as I reflect on my career in automotive retail, I’ll admit to falling prey over and over. It’s like a treadmill that gets faster and faster as you go. To keep feeding the machine of revenue, you must keep manipulating.
When I transitioned from the world of selling cars to selling consulting, training and marketing services, it became clear that I was accustomed to a world of transactional selling. I needed to pay closer attention to networking and building loyal relationships. Social Media made it possible for me to network with those both inside and outside automotive retail. I’m grateful to be part of that collaboration now – it allows me to constantly learn and to cultivate referral relationships.
When companies and individuals don’t have a clear sense of why their customers are their customers, they tend to rely on a disproportionate number of manipulations to get what they need. Manipulations are a perfectly valid strategy for driving a transaction. It’s a viable strategy when times are good and money is flush. However, in tough times, you need your happy, loyal customer base to see you through. In 2008 when the credit crisis hit, promotions and incentives became untenable. Putting all your eggs in the “driving transactions” basket is dangerous to the health of your business.
Instead of waking up to find that your business is only good as the next transaction, embark on a quest to foster loyalty through Social Selling. Build a network of happy, loyal customers who like doing business with you.
If you’re a salesperson or business owner who wants more than a single transaction, you must inspire loyalty.
- If you’re good to your customers, they’ll keep coming back because they like you.
- If they like you, they’ll spend more money.
- If they spend more money, you want to treat them better.
- And if you treat them better, they’ll keep coming back.
…and the circle begins again.
Here are 3 Social Selling tips to inspire loyalty and move away from the “one night stand” transaction:
1. Let your “Why” permeate throughout every corner of your message.
- Know yourself. In today’s online environment, it’s easy to get lumped in with others. How do you differentiate yourself? When you have a clear sense of why you do what you do, you don’t have to convince anyone of your value.
- Know your customer. Take a look at your network and dissect it. What are the passions, interests and challenges your community has? The clearest way to a prospect’s heart is to know something about them and incorporate that in your message. Content (Facebook posts, tweets, blog posts) should center on teaching your customer how to buy. The more you know them, the easier it will be to create content that delights.
2. Constantly provide value.
Providing value in relationships is how we establish connection, create trust and foster loyalty. I always guide my clients to produce content, not just consume it. Consuming content keeps you informed and helps you provide a good Social Media experience for customers. Contributing to conversations and producing blog posts solidifies relationships and converts them into sales. Customers are having a learning party. Are you going to attend?
3. Think from the customers’ point of view.
There are many businesses that enjoy a certain positive perception from the buying public. Automotive retail is not one of those. People look forward to going to a car dealership about as much as going to the dentist. Are you courageous enough to ask why people don’t like doing business with you? When you ask your customers what they like and dislike about you, they will define what service excellence means. Then all you have to do is give it to them! If people like doing business with you, they’ll probably want to come back more often.
Social Selling is the key to customer loyalty. When people like doing business with you, they keep coming back. Use these Social Selling tips to develop a long-term revenue stream by inspiring loyalty. It’s actually easier than drudging through one transaction at a time hoping you’ll see them again.