The way to succeed in business is to be constantly in touch with your market. The moment you lose touch with them or start making business more about you than your customers is the time you risk becoming irrelevant.
While business can get busy, and email can seem like a quicker option, nothing beats picking up the phone and engaging in conversation. Don’t think you have the time? Here are five reasons you should be making the time to call your customers regularly.
1. Uncover needs and trends
Businesses and people change over time. What they once valued or needed may no longer be valued or needed. The only way to prevent yourself from losing customers to competitors or becoming irrelevant in your industry is to be in contact with your customers and find out what is happening in their lives and businesses.
The more you genuinely care and want to help, the more they will open up to you about their struggles, worries, frustrations and challenges. This gives you valuable insight into the minds and needs of your customers and helps you find or create the right solution for them. It can also help you identify trends and market opportunities as similar struggles and needs appear through your discussions.
2. Upsell products and services
As you uncover needs you will also uncover opportunities to upsell (increase the amount they spend), cross-sell (get them buying more) and resell (keep them coming back).
A customer won’t always think of you as their needs change, and may not even be aware of the other products and services you provide. Talking to them over the phone gives you the opportunity to educate them on all of the different solutions you can provide.
3. Gain testimonials and case studies
Another key benefit of staying in touch with your customers is that you get to know the results they are achieving with your products and services. Customer testimonials and case studies are incredibly valuable in your sales process because they prove how you can help. This proof reduces the risk felt by potential customers and gives you powerful marketing messages to use.
As you are talking to your customers, casually ask them how your product or service has helped them. More often than not your customers will be flattered you value their opinion and be happy to give you a testimonial.
4. Identify improvements
Some business owners fear their customers’ feedback, so much so that it prevents them from following up after purchases. But the feedback your customers share with you, whether it is positive or negative, is the key to building a better business.
Your customers, who have experienced your products and services firsthand, will provide priceless insight into the quality, affordability, customer service and benefits you offer compared to what else is available in your industry. And, if you choose to listen, they will help you create greater products and services that are more competitive and relevant to your market.
5. Build relationships
Never underestimate the power of a trusting business relationship. You have already invested time, money and energy into getting your customers; why not do everything in your power to keep them as well?
People want to be valued for who they are and not just how much they spend with you. A quick phone call to see how they are going is a great way to build a relationship with your customers and inspire loyalty and trust.
These days so many businesses have an agenda when they contact their customers. However, you leave an indelible mark when you call just to see how they are going.
This article originally appeared on StartupSmart.