When you put people first, relationships flourish and businesses thrive. That’s the relationship economy.
70% of B2B customers now expect in-depth personalization during business transactions. Now more than ever, clients are demanding a more human and personal experience when making a purchase or interacting with a brand.
Your client wants you to know them — what makes them tick, what drives their business goals, what roadblocks they face and what solutions they need help with. But even deeper than this, they are craving a personal connection — a mutually beneficial connection. And they don’t want to be considered just a “sale.”
In fact, they want to participate in what is called the relationship economy.
What does that mean, and is it just a buzzword? Far from it. The relationship economy aims to create and nurture human connections through genuine interactions that build trust and value. Companies (including all staff from Sales through to Customer Care) build their brand on personal interactions and experiences with their customers, prospects, partners, vendors, influencers and other business contacts.
So how can you start participating in the relationship economy?
Get to know your clients and prospects
In the relationship economy, your goal is to create long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. So you’ll need to invest the time in quality conversations rather than a high quantity of conversations. Create a strategy for reaching out to your contacts, such as segmenting them and developing a plan to have meaningful touchpoints with those in each category.
Ask plenty of questions, not just about their business, but to get to know them on a personal level.
“The folks who come to us have a funding problem that they need help to solve. We want transparency in that initial conversation. We want to know what’s causing them pain,” says John Levac, President of Blacksail Capital Partners Canada.
“We get to the heart of their problem by asking lots of questions, and then listening with an open mind to learning about what is really driving their needs. That may sometimes also require reading between the lines and probing for more details.”
A client will often get to their immediate pain points in these conversations if you allow them space and time. Start with an open-ended question such as, “Tell me about your year so far and the challenges you’ve been up against.” The rest will follow, based on what matters to them most.
Provide valuable and personalized touchpoints
Once you’ve taken the time to get to know your contacts on a personal level, be sure to keep track of the details you’ve learned about them. Add notes in your CRM or contact database so that you can easily reference them and use what you’ve learned during your communications.
“We take the time to learn the details about our clients. From the very beginning, we want to learn their story. Where they’ve been, where they are today and where they want to go,” says Erica Axani, Chief Risk Officer at Blacksail Capital Partners.
Always look for the win-win
Mutually beneficial relationships are good for everyone — and they are the backbone of the relationship economy. When you actively work to find a solution that is beneficial to both you and your client, it reinforces the value and trust you bring to the table.
“We won’t propose a solution that isn’t beneficial to our clients. We want to offer solutions that are win-win. If it’s not good for both parties, we don’t want to make an offer,” explains Axani, who focuses more on the long-term potential rather than transactional deals. “There are many companies that are in immediate need of capital, but a good lending partner will be looking out for their best interest in the long run.”
Continue to provide value after the sale
When the sale is over, your relationship with the customer has only just begun. We all know that it’s less expensive and easier to keep current customers than search for new ones. When you build trust and work to bring value to the partnership, your clients know that you’re dedicated to a long-term relationship.
“I tell my referral partners that I’ll always look at how I can help their clients,” says John Levac, President at Blacksail Capital Partners. “If they aren’t the right fit for our funding, I will try to refer them to one of my contacts for help.”
For the team at Blacksail, this is one of the tenets of building long-term client relationships. “For over 30 years I’ve worked alongside fellow lenders, banking professionals, and business development pros, and we’ve developed a great network of people we can rely on when clients need help,” Levac explains of his approach to building his network.
“It’s great that I can pick up the phone and know we can get right to the point on a potential deal, get immediate answers we trust, and then also check in about our families, work and see how things are going,” Levac continues. “We can fulfill client requests faster, get more creative with funding, and also enjoy the work. It’s that part of the job that makes it all worthwhile.”
At Blacksail Capital Partners, we are dedicated to helping businesses not just survive but thrive. We believe that character counts in the B2B funding landscape, and we are dedicated to nurturing mutually beneficial relationships with our referral partners and clients.
We are 100% committed to our clients’ success and we’ll do everything in our power to help them achieve their goals. Learn more about why you may want to work with us for your next funding deal.