Relationships are built from the heart. You have to want to help others and make the world a better place. Try building a relationship solely on financial gain and it will most certainly backfire. This is where a lot of business owners fail. Real recognizes real. Whether it be in nature or inside your financial/retail location.
One of the keys to a successful store/business is the ability to create strong relationships within the community and with its clientele. People have, and will always, buy on trust. Of course, price is always a factor…. but in the end trust wins.
How do I build strong, lasting relationships you may ask?
It all starts with “the want to”. If you don’t have the desire to do so it will never happen. Relationships can occur in many ways. A few things have served me well in the past:
- Curiosity and listening.
- While interacting with your client, take a real interest in their life. Ask them questions that gives them an opportunity to share with you some personal details that you can follow up on in the future. Make the transaction/interaction personal rather than financial. Kids, spouse, sports, etc. may be a good starting point.
- Some of my best clients were created this way. A “problem” is a perfect way to show your client that you care about them and will go the extra mile to make things right. It’s often hard to put your pride aside and create a “win-win” situation, but it often will reap large benefits down the road. I’ve actually had clients that were ready to fight me, turn around and be ready to “fight for me” in the future, due to the relationship that we had built from that initial disagreement.
- Their need for your services.
- When a client needs you, do not look to take advantage and “hit a home run” every time. Look at the situation as an opportunity to earn a long-term customer through building a relationship. Be honest with them and let them know how you are helping them (in a subtle way). Case in point – “I know that you normally get a loan of $50 on this. Would $60 today help you a little more? I know that your son’s birthday is just around the corner.”
- Look for an opportunity.
- Be aware of your surroundings and be the “eyes” that your client may need at times. Often your client’s judgement will be clouded due to their finances, problems in their lives, etc. Offer advice and to help when you can. Look for that feel good moment that will not only help your client, but will make YOU feel good. Ultimately, it will benefit you more than you will ever know. Example:
I took over a situation where an elderly lady had been paying on a $100 loan ($20 per month) for over 10 years. Every month…. $20. The loan was a simple chain and cross pendant that was worth about $250 in the open market. She had paid over $2000 on this item! I made a note, in her account, to get me when she came in to pay the next time.
When she came in, we thanked her for being a loyal customer and for paying us monthly for so long. I handed her the jewelry bag and told her that it was time to take her items home. She immediately started to cry and explained to me that she couldn’t afford to pay them off. We explained that she had paid enough over the years and she owed us nothing.
Some may say that was a bad move on our part. That we could have collected that $20 a month for many more months. We say….it was the right thing to do and would do it all over again. Not only was it morally correct, but think about how many people in the community that she told about what we did for her. You cannot put a price on reputation. That one instance may be worth 100 5-star Google reviews in today’s world. Priceless.
Show your customers that you care and they will show you the way to profitability!