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Stronger networks build better businesses

Building strong relationships with customers and prospects is like an insurance policy against a weak economy. Brokers who invest in these relationships are more likely to thrive in these times of austerity.

People like to buy from people, so it’s important to focus on personal, rather than corporate, relationships. This is particularly true today, with increasing levels of business being conducted online, so it’s important to adapt current methods in order to build long-lasting and prosperous relationships.

Here are five tips to remember when building strong commercial relationships.

Keep in touch

Newsletters are a great way of informing your customers of changes to your business, or other important information, but they should not be used as the primary form of communication with customers. They can be seen as a lazy, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Waiting until renewal comes up once a year to get in touch might make your customers feel that they’re not getting a personal service.

Asking your customers for constructive criticism and feedback will show them that you are interested in what they think

If you don’t already, you could help to maintain your relationships by getting in touch with your customers on a regular basis, or better yet, have a face-to-face meeting.

Total recall

Remembering information about customers will make them feel more valued. Consider compiling a list or introducing a CRM system in which to store useful pieces of information about each customer. Such a list will also prevent any contacts from slipping through the net and being forgotten. Delivering a personal service is most likely to result in greater renewal rates, referrals and long-term business growth.

Feedback

Asking your customers for constructive criticism and feedback will show them that you are interested in what they think. Improving your service based on their suggestions will also prove that you genuinely listen to them and value their opinion. Encourage your customers to give you honest feedback on the service they receive, from quotes to claims.

Read our article about how to make the most of social media to grow your business – Cracking the social media nut

Networking

It is much easier to build relationships and maintain them by networking in person. Use industry conferences to meet prospective customers, where you can also take advantage of the opportunity to share knowledge and experience.

Take it online

Social media offers an easy way of keeping in touch with your existing network and expanding your reach to connect with potential new contacts. Using sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter allows you to see what others are talking about, and demonstrate expertise by contributing to conversations. You can share information about your business, as well as articles that you think your online audience might find interesting.

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