This is the fourth in a series of five blog posts about how to create and implement a “SMART” strategy to manage client relationships — one that incorporates personalization and industry expertise into every client interaction. By using this tailored approach, your team will boost your organization’s sales conversion success and deepen those relationships.

Are your relationship managers (RMs) or account executives (AEs) using a “SMART” client strategy?:

Strategic Mindset
Make Recommendations
Alternative Ideas
Real Conversations
Take Less and Give More

Vertical IQ is excited to share our free ebook, “How to Build a ‘SMART’ Sales Organization,” with you! You can download it here.

You are using a Strategic Mindset in order to gain knowledge from the clients you currently work with so that you can strategically apply that Industry Intelligence to other small to medium-sized business (SMB) clients. You are utilizing these same insights to Make Recommendations based on your familiarity of the client’s individual situation plus what’s happening within their industry. You are then blending these insights in order to offer outside-the-box Alternative Ideas to your clients.

Now it’s time to showcase your knowledge, as well as your authenticity, by having Real Conversations with your clients.

Industry Intelligence provides critical information and insights about industry trends, challenges, and opportunities to help sales professionals understand what to say with prospects and customers to win, retain, and grow business.

The authenticity we all crave

Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” And I believe this is true — even in the business world.

In today’s fast-paced environment where we are all bombarded by ads for this store or that product, shrewd consumer brands are focusing on forming relationships with shoppers that are built on trust and authenticity. They want customers to feel a connection to their brand, which in turn builds brand loyalty.

All humans crave this kind of attention and authenticity in their relationships, including in their business dealings. This is why many SMB owners are looking for a trusted advisor for this company — someone who understands not only their business and their industry, but also cares about them as a person.

As a relationship manager (RM) or account executive (AE), you should be asking your clients about their business and professional goals, as we discussed in the Make Recommendations step of the SMART sales strategy. You also should be offering Alternative Ideas based on what the client tells you about their objectives. But the crucial next step is to take those responses to heart, and then take your discussion to the next level with Real Conversations.

“Real talk” is personalized

What does a real conversation look like? It’s authentic. It’s compassionate. It’s insightful. It’s honest.

Think of it like this: An SMB owner has poured his or her blood, sweat, and tears into that business; it’s their baby. They are proud of it and want to nurture and grow it. So, it is understandable that they want to have deep conversations that are tailored to their unique situation and goals.

The successful financial professional will take the time to understand not only the client’s business, but also be able to have frank conversations with them about their strategy as a whole. This could be a discussion about growth and acquisitions, or given the current economy, even tough conversations about downsizing. It could mean talking about capital improvements or succession planning.

To spur these real conversations that effectively build trust, deepen the relationship, and increase loyalty, it’s crucial to create tailored client communications, which incorporate Industry Intelligence.

Industry Intelligence gets a real conversation started

SMB owners aren’t interested in your cookie-cutter sales pitch, and generic conversations aren’t going to elicit any sense of loyalty to you or your organization. Your clients want to have in-depth discussions that are customized to their individual situation. That means creating highly personalized communications for every client touchpoint.

For instance, in your prospecting letters and emails, consider incorporating some key trends that are going on within your prospect’s industry. Follow-up with a phone call and ask the SMB owner if they are taking advantage of these trends within their company. Be prepared to share how you can assist with these opportunities.

Another tactic: Print off a timely news article relevant to your client’s or prospect’s industry. Jot a note about how the issue discussed in the article might pertain to them and their business, and promise to follow-up with a phone call to discuss how you can help address this or similar challenges. Attach a business card, and drop it in the mail.

Once you and your team get a foot in the door, continue to facilitate those authentic, highly tailored conversations. As an example, in your pitch deck, include some of the top challenges that are occurring within the client/prospect’s industry. Use these as talking points to kick the conversation into high-gear. This will give your team an opportunity to learn as much as possible about the client’s business and then share how your institution’s products or services can address these issues.

Strengthen your client relationships

As your relationship with the client grows and deepens, there will continue to be opportunities to have real conversations that include Industry Intelligence. Perhaps the client is reaching retirement age. You can initiate a heart-to-heart conversation about succession planning by sharing valuation data from other companies within their industry, for example.

Remember the sage words of Maya Angelou: “People will never forget how you made them feel.” And when you have real conversations with your client or prospect, using Industry Intelligence to tailor the discussion to their unique situation and industry, they will feel like you care about them personally, as well as about their business’s success. And that is how a loyal long-term business relationship is solidified.

Vertical IQ SMART eBookLearn more about how to create a SMART sales strategy by downloading Vertical IQ’s free ebook, “How to Build a ‘SMART’ Sales Organization,” today!


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