Customer Experience News & Trends

Long-term customer relationships fail for these 4 reasons

Long-term customer relationships are not built on the info or attitude you present to customers — they are built on the actions you take. Customers evaluate your consistent, persistent, predictable actions over time to determine who you truly are.

Why long-term relationships fail

Research pinpoints four reasons why long-term relationships fail to get off the ground:

  1. The salesperson didn’t care enough about the prospect’s needs, preferences or problems.
  2. The salesperson was more concerned with style, while the prospect was looking for substance.
  3. The proposal was more of a solution for the salesperson’s problems than it was for the prospect’s problems.
  4. The salesperson didn’t listen to what the prospect really wanted or failed to find a way to satisfy those needs.

Build trust

Long-term relationships are usually established when people trust you and feel close to you. To build trust, you must demonstrate your professionalism, integrity, care and knowledge over time.

When competition is tough, it’s easy to over promise, but it’s far better to be realistic. Nothing undermines trust faster than broken promises.

Listen closely

You display you care by listening to your customers and showing they are important to you. This helps to build trust.

Here are seven impediments to good listening that destroy long-term relationships:

  • Showing that you prefer speaking to listening.
  • Being too anxious to rebut the other person’s argument or objections.
  • Allowing yourself to get distracted.
  • Jumping to conclusions before all the evidence is in.
  • Trying so hard to remember everything that you lose the main points.
  • Dismissing much of what you hear as irrelevant or uninteresting.
  • Discarding information you don’t like.

Trust, the key to building long-term relationships, must be earned and re-earned. If customers trust salespeople, they’ll tell them their needs and expectations, and what they really want. One slip on a salesperson’s part — a broken promise or a false claim — may do a lot more than cost a sale. It may lose a hard-earned customer forever.

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