At Crestline, we know that promotional products can do, and say, a lot! We also know that in order for them to speak the loudest, as a marketer, you must make sure that you are building a relationship with the receiving prospects and that you are communicating with them in a way that makes them trust you.
Have you ever gone through an entire purchase on auto pilot? You walk into a store, grab what you need and check out. By the time you get back in the car, you’re lucky if you even remember what you cashier looked like.
This kind of selling and purchasing is strictly transactional and making a sale is the only objective. There is no attempt to form a relationship or be anything beyond just a purchase. Transactional purchases do not strive to make the customer want to come back. They purchaser may buy again because of the convenience, or because they don’t know where else to find what they need, but they are not likely to share their experience with peers and they are certainly not likely to feel a connection to the company. If something better were to come along, the purchaser would be likely to try it.
When an establishment pushes to build a relationship with a customer, all of that changes. If the customer trusts and likes your relationship, they will continue to buy from you, even if new options arise. They will share their shopping experience with the people they know; they may even review your company or post a photo of their experience online. In order to for connections and build a relationship with customers and prospects, you must figure out what motivates your customers—their fears and desires.
Uncovering these fears and desires and understanding them is the key to connecting with your customers, creating better solutions for them and making them loyal. You can gain insight about these motivators by asking intelligent and thoughtful questions. Figure out what your customer wants to accomplish through their purchase, figure out if they are facing any obstacles in getting the product(s) they are looking for, know if they have had any service failures in the past, either with you or with a similar company that is making them hesitant about purchasing again. If you’re having trouble initiating a conversation with your customers, try using promotional products! Offer folks in your store an imprinted item, and segue it into a conversation about what they are shopping for and why.
If you know that the customer has shopped with you before, find out what brought them back! Were they successful with the product the first time and now want to repurchase, or are they back to try something new because the last purchase didn’t work? Asking these questions can help you learn about your customer and their own motivation, but it can also help you to better your company. Learning about their successes and failures with your products can help to guide them to better purchasing options and help you assist other customers in similar situations in the future.
Finally, make sure that their purchase does not feel like a onetime event; let them know that their relationship with your business is ongoing. Don’t just thank them when they walk out the door or hang up the phone, tell them you can’t wait to see what they thought of the product, or wish them luck on the event they are planning. Take the time to follow up with the customer after the purchase when appropriate, especially if you know when they were planning on using whatever they purchased from you. Going the extra mile will be worth the effort when you have long term, loyal customers.