Unless you believe that ‘No news is good news’, I know how important it is to try to stay top of mind with your security guard company clients. I remember the occasional feeling of anxiety when things with a client had gone silent for a while. Those quiet times often lead to me thinking “I hope I won’t be getting a 30-day cancellation letter anytime soon.” But at the same time, I didn’t want to bother my clients unnecessarily if everything was going well. So how do you balance the need to regularly check in with respecting your client’s time?
When you interrupt someone — and as a vendor, you reaching out is going to be an interruption — you have to provide something of value, says Thom Singer, a networking and sales expert. Here’s how to identify the kinds of things your customers will value, and how to keep that conversation going, without nagging them.
Help Build Their Business
One of the best ways to keep your business relationship with clients flourishing is to focus on them. “Every time you communicate, if it starts with ‘I’ or ‘we,’ that should not be how you lead the conversation,” Singer says. “Go through your written correspondence and see who you’re focused on by looking at the terms you’re using. You need to be customer focused.”
Learn your clients’ businesses as well as they know them, and give them tips and information they can use, Singer recommends. Remember that you are providing only one of many services they need to build their businesses; learn about the other challenges they face in their industry, and help them solve those problems as well. “If you know what’s important to your clients, you can give them the information they need,” he says.
It’s hard to keep a long-term business relationship strictly about business; humans are social creatures, and we like to learn about each other. Making your communications personal will help build that relationship even when you’re “interrupting” clients, Singer says. Make note of birthdays and anniversaries when clients mention them in passing, and reach out on those special days; pay attention to hobbies or interests they mention and send them articles that they might find interesting.
“If you have a long-term relationship with somebody, it’s natural to ask how they are and how are the kids,” Singer says. “Take an interest in their personal life, because the more you know about the whole person and who they are, the more they take an interest in you.” Networking isn’t a business-only proposition, he says. Building friendship into it means when you do make contact, your client is pleased to hear from you. And offering something without expecting anything in return — as opposed to when you send an invoice — helps build that relationship.
Social media has made it seem like we’re all connected, Singer says, but likes, follows and shares go only so far. “You have to remember that people do business with people they know, like and trust. You don’t develop that right away”.
If you want to create a real relationship, you have to invest time and share experiences with people, Singer advises. Handwritten notes and phone calls can help build that connection, for example. They take more time, Singer acknowledges, but they also build a stronger relationship that can withstand the stretches when you might not have time to talk.
By Courtney Sparkman
OfficerReports.com is a software company that provides security guard companies with an easy way to monitor their officers, better manage their operations, and win new business. Take a tour of our software to see how we combine Electronic Reporting, Real-Time GPS based Tour Tracking, and GPS based Clock In and Out into one easy to use platform.