When selling a service, you are marketing something intangible. Your prospects and customers are relying on the trust they have placed in you, and more often than not, they will not realize the full value of your service until after it has been delivered (and sometimes even weeks or months after that!). Therefore, relationship marketing plays a larger role for companies competing in the professional services industry.
From the first few visits prospects make to your company website all the way through the work completed for them once they are clients, there are actions you can take to cultivate the connection between your business and theirs. It’s all about the little ways you nurture your leads and continue to delight them once they convert into customers. So let’s cut to the chase... Here are 7 pieces of relationship marketing advice you can use to enrich that essential rapport from beginning to end – and maybe get a few fist bumps along the way!
1. Make it personal.
Contextual marketing, or personalizing your marketing efforts based on who your target buyers are, what they want, and what they need to do, leads to a 20+% increase in sales! Moreover, Business2Community reports that 78% of buyers believe that companies providing custom content are interested in building good relationships. Determine the points of friction on your website, and personalize content where decisions are being made, offering up resources and information based on what you know about your visitor.
2. Engage with your prospects.
Build up relationships through your business blog and social media outlets. Respond to comments, follow social influencers from your industry, share third-party content, and recognize or reach out to users when they share yours.
3. Follow up.
Whenever a prospect asks you a question or you have an exploratory sales conversation with an interested lead, always follow up within 24 hours! An important piece of relationship marketing is proving you are reliable – and that you care about a potential customer’s new business.
4. Be the answer.
When prospects check out your website, they are likely to ask themselves: “How have you solved a problem like mine?” Create a variety of content – blogs, eBooks, white papers, customer case studies, etc. – that describes common industry challenges and respective solutions. Answer the FAQs, and post these stories on your website.
5. Approach a project with a WE mentality.
Once you sign on with a client, you become one unit. For all intents and purposes, you are the client. When you are starting up a new task, make sure the client understands that you not only empathize with their needs but that you are invested in their success as if it were your own. Because, in reality, your client’s success is what will drive your business forward.
6. Deliver on what you promise.
In professional services, your word is that much more important. There is no tangible product customers can see or hold, so they put their faith in what you tell them. By completing quality work before the deadline, you keep your word and leave room to make adjustments and revisions to the project if necessary.
7. Be honest and kind.
This should go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway! Honesty is always the best policy. In your partnership, pay attention to the client’s ideas, but don’t be afraid to push back when necessary. Every client is different, so treat them as such. Trust your instincts, be transparent when communicating, and smile!
We cannot emphasize this enough: forging strong relationships is a mega MUST when marketing your professional services business. Building trust with your target audience is one of the most important steps you can take to effectively promote and sell your services, as well as influence additional purchasing decisions your buyers will be making later down the line.
For more tips on this topic, you can download our free eBook: Professional Services Marketing – The Art of Making Your Services Easier to Sell, our comprehensive guide to painting your services in the right light!