Digital technology has transformed modern society in countless ways. In the business world, technology empowers companies to do things faster and more efficiently, saving time and money and improving the bottom line.
However, email, text messaging, and social media have changed the way we interact with customers and colleagues, reducing the amount of “face time” we have with them. Many experts believe this is having a negative impact on our ability to build the kind of interpersonal relationships that, despite our reliance on smartphones, remain essential for business success.
Making Relationship Building a Priority
People make, sell, and consume our products and services. Depending on technology to communicate limits our ability to build connections with those who can contribute to the long-term growth of our businesses. Dr. Nancy Colier, a psychotherapist and author of “The Power of Off,” notes that most people check their smartphones 150 times a day, or an average of every six minutes. However, she goes on to say, “It’s connections to other human beings – real-life connections, not digital ones – that nourish us and make us feel like we count. Our presence, our full attention is the most important thing we can give each other.”
As a small business owner, making it a priority to develop deeper relationships with people can pay huge dividends in terms of creating opportunities to support, serve, and sell. From empowering your brand to improving employee productivity, there are many ways your small business can benefit from strengthening connections with colleagues, team members, vendors, and customers.
Boosting Your Reputation
The success of any small business is closely tied to its reputation. If you are honest, reliable, and responsive to the needs of your customers and business associates, they will view you and your business as professional, trustworthy, and deserving of their loyalty. This can lead to more business referrals and repeat business from current customers.
The investment you make in establishing a positive reputation will also pay off when times get tough and budgets are tight. Customers who you have taken the time to get to know will continue to do business with you, even if they have to cut back, because they want to support a company they feel good about.
Adding Credibility to Your Marketing
Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective marketing tools. When you build positive relationships with customers and other people you deal with, they are more likely to become ambassadors for your brand and make personal recommendations to their friends, relatives, and colleagues. This adds a layer of credibility to your marketing efforts that money can’t buy. Customers who find you via referrals are typically “sold” on your products or services because they have come to know you through people who are already satisfied with how you do business.
Opening Doors to Opportunity
When you focus on improving your relationship marketing skills, you open the door to more business opportunities. Making face-to-face connections with other professionals by networking, attending industry conferences and events, or simply meeting for a cup of coffee will leave a stronger impression than sending an email or messaging them on LinkedIn. This helps ensure they will more readily think of you when an opportunity to make a referral comes along. Speaking with or meeting your customers in person can be equally powerful in keeping your business top on mind when they are ready to make a purchase.
Generating Greater Customer Satisfaction
Knowing your customers or clients, understanding their pain, and fixing their problems are the keys to developing long-term relationships. Summit Financial Resources understands that keeping clients happy involves more than just managing transactions. It takes communication, mutual respect, and a proven track record of having their best interests at heart.
Getting to know our customers is essential to finding the financing options that best meet their needs. As the primary point of contact between Summit and our clients, our Relationship Managers are committed to a policy of openness and honesty. Clients know they can count on their Relationship Manager not only to ensure that all facets of their loan facility are working at the highest level, but to be straightforward when it comes to answering questions and solving problems.
At Summit Financial Resources, we measure our success by our ability to satisfy our clients so they will continue to rely on us for their cash flow solutions. Unlike other types of loans, working capital financing requires us to understand and be engaged in the day-to-day ups and downs of your business. Connecting through in-person visits and phone conversations, rather than sitting behind a keyboard, allows us to know you, understand when you are in a tough spot, and work together with you, your controller, or accounts payable team to provide the support and resources you need.
Earning Employee Loyalty
Creating a company culture that promotes fairness, trust, and transparency sets the tone for building positive relationships with those outside of your business. It also goes a long way toward earning the loyalty of your own employees. The return on your investment of time, effort, and resources in establishing a positive workplace environment is employee happiness. Happy workers tend to be more productive, take fewer sick days, and stay with the company longer, which will ultimately improve your bottom line.
No matter what type of small business you are in, your most important asset is your relationships. Establishing and maintaining positive connections with those who matter most will position you as a company people trust and want to work with over the long term.
Working Capital Financing is a few clicks away.
Summit Financial Resources specializes in working capital financing for small to medium-sized businesses that need increased cash flow. We provide working capital financing through invoice factoring, asset-based lending, inventory lending, and equipment financing.