The Secret to Building a Strong Relationship With Your Customers

To build a strong relationship with your customers, first you need to understand why people become customers in the first place.

Then you can begin to tailor your efforts in a more strategic, long-term way. 

Donald Miller covers this in his book, Marketing Made Simple. In it he discusses the three stages that every relationship has:

  1. Curiosity
  2. Enlightenment
  3. Commitment

If you want people to make the commitment and buy from you, firstly you need to make them curious! You need to grab their attention and keep it.

Then, you need to educate them about how you will improve their life. Only after that can you expect them to commit and spend money on your service or products.

So let’s discuss each stage in depth.

building strong relationship with your customers

The first stage: curiosity

We see thousands of ads every day, but only a tiny fraction get through our filters and actually catch our attention.

Many businesses make the mistake of talking about themselves too much… their history, founding story and so on.

But your customers don’t generally care about that. They want to know how your product or service can improve their life.

But to explain that to them, you need to grab their attention – otherwise your message will be lost in the noise.

The second stage: enlightenment

Once you have piqued curiosity, it’s time to enlighten them – in simple words, to explain what you do and why it’s relevant to them.

If you want your customer to take the next step in your relationship, you need to enlighten them by explaining how you can solve their problems. For example, in my case, I am often solving the problem of small businesses not having enough customers.

So my job is to enlighten my audience about marketing funnels and how I can help them to build a new website which will help them reach more customers and make them more money.

At this point, you are giving away information and value, and so your customers are beginning to trust you. You are proving you know what you’re talking about and can genuinely help. You’re showing that you don’t just want their money, you care and you’re an expert at what you do.

This stage can last a while. It takes time to build a genuine relationship built on trust. It’s worth the effort though, as the next stage is commitment.

The third stage: commitment

This is when you ask your (potential) customers to make the commitment – in simple words, you ask them to buy your products or services.

This can be a delicate stage. If you ask customers to make a commitment too early, they won’t have enough trust in your products and, therefore, will decline.

But never asking them is not a great solution either – because if you don’t ask, they probably won’t commit.

Too many small businesses and freelancers actually never ask at all, and let relationships wither and die. Getting the timing right is key, but you have to ask them to buy at some point.

So the key here is to move slowly – but to keep moving. 

Many businesses feel that asking customers to buy is pushy or rude, and they don’t want to bother them. But putting a button on your website and emails with a CTA button is not pushy. In addition, it serves as a reminder of the kind of relationship that has been established. It’s a business relationship, and both sides know that.

You want your customers to buy from you, and if you are honest and open about it, they will actually respect you more. It’s weird to pretend you’re just trying to help and don’t want anything in return if that’s not actually the truth. 

Final thoughts

Understanding the stages of the relationship, and how to lead your customers through each one effectively, will help you to build a base of loyal customers.

So keep these stages in mind when you think about marketing strategy. It will help you to think more long-term about the tactics you use, and to build trust before asking customers to commit.

As Donald Miller puts it:

People fall in love with brands that help them survive and get them a great return on their social, emotional, or financial investment. Customers can fall in love with your brand – just invite them into the stages of the relationship, and do so at the right pace.

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More from the blog:

Why clarity is key when it comes to your business website
How does your website make you feel?

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Until next time,

Alistair

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