When I talk to buyers, I often ask what inspires them to remain loyal to suppliers. Many suppliers actually think it’s good value, cheap prices and quality products. That is so far from the true!
But the answers we get often prove that those things only get you to first base. They get you onto the playing field and are the basics that will only get the door opened. What is it that makes buyers really want to do business with you? What makes them keep buying from you and building long-term loyalty?
The answers to these questions will help you determine on what you need to focus when working with a potential buyer or attempting to increase the loyalty of an existing one. Put simply, it’s by dealing with and going beyond the needs of buyers that will make you top of the list. What are those needs that, if exceeded, will prove you to be indispensable to prospects and clients alike?
You may need to personalize this list, and add to it depending on your specific market and industry, but here are five to start with:
1) Give us advice. Suggestions and recommendations that will make me look good. If you have products and services that will make a real difference to the decision-maker’s job, you stand a big chance of being successful.
2) Make our future easier. Better and more successful. Your buyers aren’t really interested in your products and services. They are only interested in what you can do to make their future better than the present situation.
3) Be consistent and keep your promises. Buyers will forgive mistakes and oversights, as long as they are kept informed. What they really want is for you to follow-up on your promises so they can trust you and believe in you. They need to know that you will do what you say you will. If you promise something and they rely on that (like a follow-up phone call or a visit) then not carrying it out could cause problems in the short term that could develop into lack of trust in the long term.
4) Be proactive. Many buyers consider their suppliers to be exactly that…a supplier. If you become proactive in your approach, take the initiative in keeping buyers informed of new trends and developments in their industry and be the first to share ideas, then you build relationships that go deeper than just supplier-customer…you become a genuine partner to their business.
5) Make us look good to our customers. Imagine a customer saying they are going to continue to be loyal to your customer. Now imagine your customer only being able to keep that loyalty because of you, your products and your services. If your company makes their company look good to customers, you create reasons for them to be loyal to you.
Are there more than these five? There may well be for your specific customers, but these should help you to concentrate your attention and focus. By working on these needs, you create a good foundation to build on that will provide you and prospects reasons to be working together for a long time into the future.
Wade Younger, MBA, CSP, CSM, TEFL