Customer relationship management (CRM) is important from the multimillion-dollar corporation to the small one-man shop. Developing a good rapport with your clients is the basis. You don’t need expensive software to develop rapport. All you need is a little common bond.
Companies like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and even Auto Zone all use surveys, software tools, and customer feedback to see if they are moving in the right customer communication directions. What can the small businessman do?
When a customer calls for business go above and beyond to serve them. On the phone, in person, or online show them that you really care and want to continue to have their business. They will come back. They may even refer you to others.
Communicate commonality. Actively listen, or look, for keywords in your exchanges. Find matches to your own personality and draw on them. If a customer mentions something from their personal life expand on it. Surely you have a similar story or tidbit of information you can contribute.
In person you have added power. You can show your interest by leaning in as you listen. But do not invade their personal space. Show interest but don’t overpower them. Nod your head in agreement, look them in the eye, and smile.
“55% of communication, the largest part, is a result of physiology or body language.” (233) Use that to your advantage. Have you ever spoke with someone and noticed that their arms are crossed? That is a sure sign they are not responding to your input, in essence they are saying “No!” The opposite would be open arms, animated facial movements, and arm gestures.
How can you change a “no” stance? You can try a simple trick mirror them. You stand with your arms crossed for a moment and engage them in conversation. Slowly relax and drop your stance, perhaps throw in some hand gestures, while you communicate your similar situation. You will see a change in their demeanor.
Practice the technique before you use it in your business. Do it with your friends, your spouse, and your children. You will be amazed at the results.
Know Who You Are Dealing With
There are three types of people: Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Visual. If you learn what type of person you are dealing with you will have the upper hand in communication.
Auditory individuals are listeners. You can hone in on them by listening to their speech patterns. They use words like hear: I hear your point. Word power is key here. They will communicate with words that mean, sound, or refer to hearing something. Your presentation didn’t ring clear to me can you tone it down?
When dealing with an auditory individual, you should speak with a balanced tone, eloquently, and make your voice resonate. Now don’t be over dramatic, just slow your pace a bit. Use words that portray sound.
Kinesthetic individuals use their bodies when they communicate. The gesture when they talk. They are touchy feely individuals. They will use words like grasp: can you grasp my point? Even If they are not all over the place talking with their hands, but they use concrete wording, you are dealing with a Kinesthetic.
A Kinesthetic will appreciate a slower speech pattern with pauses for absorbing between information. Using words that appeal to their sense of touch will draw them in.
Visual individuals like to see things. They will use words that convey a visual picture: you appear to understand my meaning. They also have a faster speech pattern. When communicating with a visual person you should “show” them what you are talking about. Let them “look” over your past work so they can “envision” what you can do for them.
Not everybody is one clear-cut type. Some individuals alternate between one and the other or are a combination of two. Here is a video to see and hear the difference between auditory, kinesthetic, and visual individuals. Learning to differentiate will help you better communicate with your customers and build rapport.
Robbins, Anthony. Unlimited Power. New York: Ballantine, 1986