Whether you run a large company with hundreds of employees or a small business that knows all of its customers by name, great relationship management skills will always set you apart from your competitors and help you retain customers.
In this blog post, you’ll learn 10 relationship management skills – from the power of going beyond the normal level of customer service to surveying your customers and learning their needs – that will improve your customer retention rate.Are you new to the world of business? Whether you’re starting a small business or expanding from a freelance operation into a service-focused agency, enroll in our Customer Service Training course to learn the basics of helping your customers.
Awareness of customer needs
Unless you know what your customers need, you’ll struggle to attract their attention and convince them to do business with you. Knowing your industry’s priorities is an essential part of demonstrating your value to prospects and building relationships.
One of the best ways to learn more about your target market is by surveying existing customers to learn about what they do and don’t value. You can do this using online surveys and interview forms that simplify gather information.
Join over 200 students and learn how to survey your customers to learn what keeps them coming back to your business in our course, How to Interview Your Customers and get Useful Feedback.
Direct marketing skills
Many businesses carefully monitor the amount of money they spend on customer acquisition, but not their time. Your time is valuable, and being able to quantify the value of your time makes calculating your relationship management ROI simple.
Learn the basics of direct marketing – from the cost of your time to improving your sales conversion rate – and you’ll find it easier to form business relationships with new customers and maintain links with your existing customer base.
Time is money, and tracking your time makes calculating your return on investment from customer service easy. Learn more about tracking key performance indicators for your business in our blog post on KPIs to track using your sales dashboard.
The ability to connect with strangers
Reaching out to prospects and turning them into customers isn’t easy. Even the most capable salespeople feel anxiety and fear when a certain prospect has less interest in doing business than they previously imagined.
One of the most important relationship management skills is the ability to get along with strangers. From cold calls to prospect met at trade shows and events, the skill of conversion and persuasion makes relationship management far easier.
Do you struggle to make conversation with prospects? Learn how to get ahead and turn cold leads into loyal, satisfied customers using the sales and networking skills in our Power of Persuasion course.
Ambition and motivation
An ambitious, motivated attitude is essential for business success. People that are willing to reach out to prospects and call existing customers to learn what they’re interested in almost always excel past their complacent, passive counterparts.
There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious in sales and customer service – in fact, in the age of automated customer service and online support forms, plenty of your customers will appreciate speaking to a representative that cares about them.
With a motivated, ambitious and results-focused attitude, you’ll never struggle to connect with your customers and learn what they need. Need help staying focused and motivated? Enroll in our Motivation Booster course for entrepreneurs.
Sales funnel knowledge
It’s a lot harder to get your first customers than it is to get your second. Many small businesses struggle with relationship management because they can’t acquire new customers at the right cost and pace for constant growth.
One of the most important relationship management skills is the ability to acquire new customers while retaining existing ones. The easiest way to do this is with an automated, systematized sales funnel.
Do you need to create a customer acquisition system to develop new relationships and increase your customer base? Enroll in our How to Build a Customer Factory course and learn the secrets to turning complete strangers into customers.
Strategic thinking skills
When you’re managing less than 100 customers, it’s possible to get by without any strategy. However, when you’re managing relationships with tens of thousands of customers, the ability to form strategies becomes essential for success.
Regardless of how good your customer service skills are, it’s impossible to manage relationships using a team without a strategy in place. From guides for solving the most common problems to simple principles, relationship strategies matter.
Are you transitioning from an independent relationship management role into the head of a customer service team? Learn how to build a customer service strategy in our blog post on strategizing for customer experience.
CRM software knowledge
Managing thousands of customers is far from simple. By using modern customer relationship management (CRM) software, you can keep a record of interactions with customers across your entire organization.
From Salesforce.com to Zoho CRM, knowing how to use the most common CRM applications will give you a huge advantage in maintaining relationships across large companies and organizations, as well as forming new ones.
Are you managing a sales and customer service team that uses Salesforce? Learn how to use Salesforce.com as an administrator and control your CRM software in our Salesforce.com Admin Essentials for Beginners course.
Big picture thinking
Customer service and relationship management isn’t just about keeping customers interested in doing business with you – it’s about forming relationships that allow your business to evolve alongside its customers.
Because of this, it’s essential to have knowledge of the bigger picture – the way your business fits into the lives and needs of your customers. What benefits do you bring to the table, and why do customers do business with you instead of a competitor?
In many ways, relationship management is about positioning your business as the best choice in your market. Learn how to position your business as a leaders in its industry and customer favorite in our Market Positioning course.
A friendly, personal attitude
When you do business with another company, you aren’t dealing with a monolithic corporate entity, but with the people that it’s composed of. Being able to stay both professional and friendly is one of the key features of successful managers.
Try to strike a balance between the importance of professionalism and the benefits of being friendly and sociable with key customers and clients. In many industries – particularly IT – a less formal attitude is often a benefit in forming relationships.
Do you have trouble starting conversations with customers and prospects? Learn how to connect with customers like a close friend with our course, The Fine Art of Communication.
Fantastic research skills
From finding someone’s email address to locating journalists that are interested in writing your product, being able to research your target audience and learn how to contact them is essential for forming business relationships.
One of the best ways to research people is through creative outsourcing. With a VA (virtual assistant) on your team, it’s possible to dig up new prospects and learn how to contact them while you focus on your daily to-do list.
From here, a cold email or phone call is often all it takes to build a new relationship and develop your business. Learn more about forming relationships through email alongside 3,400 other students in our Sales Explosion Using Cold Emails course.
Develop your relationship management skills today
The ability to form new relationships and manage old ones is what separates great managers from average ones. When you can reach out to people, explain what your business has to offer and close deals, you’ll quickly excel ahead of your peers.
Learn more about building great business relationships and retaining customers in our blog post on managing people. From accountability to transparency, you’ll learn the five essential characteristics of a great relationship manager.