Affiliate Marketing Programs - The Importance of Developing a Relationship with Each of Your Prospects
When it comes to a successful marketing plan, there is no greater tool for converting potential prospects into long term clients than developing a relationship with each of your prospects. You may be able to offer potential business prospects the best quality products and service, but unless they see you as something other than an impersonal web page or catalog, there is little else to keep them loyal when another clever advertising campaign comes along.
Does this mean you have to become best friends with every new prospect you meet? of course not. If you tried, you'd not only come off as insincere, you'd never have time to get any real business done. The point here is to try to convey to your prospects that you see them as real people, and not just merely another cha-ching in your cash register. Everyone likes to feel that they matter, and this is what you will try to establish by developing a relationship with each of your prospects.
Here are some helpful tips for developing a relationship with each of your prospects based positive approaches, both online and off.
Present Yourself At Your Personal Best Both In Person And On The Web
No matter how rough of a work week you've had, when it's time to meet with a prospective client, don't skimp on the hygiene. Be sure you are perfectly groomed, and that your clothes are business-like, clean and pressed. Likewise for your vehicle. Be sure it is clean and looks well cared for. Remember, first impressions are the most important of all. You need to impress a potential client that the company you are representing is completely on the ball. Even though you will most likely be working out of your home, you never know who might stop by or who you might run into. Look successful!
Does your website look professional? You don't need green and hot pink flashing lettering to get a prospect's attention. Your website should instill a friendly one-on-one tone. Make sure your website is clean, easy to navigate for even the newest web browsers and really spells out what you're selling. Invite a dialogue with prospects and answer them in a friendly, positive tone as promptly as possible. Inspiring confidence is the first step to developing a relationship with each of your prospects.
Establish Common Ground
Resist the urge to jump right into the hard sale, it's a turn off and will hamper developing a relationship with each of your prospects. When you first meet a potential new client, don't be afraid to make some small talk to draw them out a little.
This doesn't mean that you should go into the week's weather report detail by detail. Again, you would come off as insincere. But if you happen to notice a family photo on your prospect's desk or mantel, don't be afraid to ask some polite questions about how the children are, and share a little relative info on your own children if you have them. Don't fabricate facts, honesty is always the best policy. Ask a few lightweight questions about anything your prospect brings up that actually interest you. This way you won't have to strain to have an actual conversation that is about more than just what you'd like to sell him.
Selling on the web is little harder, you don't have a physical presence. Most of your correspondence will be through e-mails and the occasional phone call. Words mean things, make yours count. Once again, be friendly in your responses, make them remember you. Answer any questions or concerns they might have about joining your affiliate program and then throw in something a little more personal. It can be that you were watching one foot of snow fall while you answered this e-mail, you just got back from a vacation or you're about to take one to XYZ place (if the prospect has been there, they'll let you know- people love to share travel stories), or just drop in a tidbit of your day and tell them you've had one of those "Calgon take me away kind of days!". Everyone can relate to a stressful day.
The key to developing an actual relationship with each of your prospects is to find some common ground that will help establish an immediate rapport between the two of you.
Soft Selling and Listening
As mentioned before, a hard sell will turn off many potential prospects. Far better to begin your sales pitch by inquiring about your prospect's needs. Give him a chance to tell you his own thoughts about what questions he has about your affiliate marketing program. People like to feel that someone is willing to listen to them. Businesses don't listen, people do.
This technique will actually help you to pinpoint the items you should be presenting first, and is indispensable to developing a relationship with each of your prospects. Your potential customer will become more relaxed with you when he realizes you are not ready to pounce from the word go.
Follow Up After The Sale
If you're fortunate enough to have made a good first impression and made the initial sale, your follow up is crucial. If you don't want to leave your new client feeling like a bride left at the alter, then within one week, send him a personal note of thanks for the opportunity to do business with him, and reiterate that you are always available to answer his questions or concerns. Then be available if he does happen to call or e-mail. If you're not in the office, then return his message immediately. This lets your new client know you still care about him after he has joined your affiliate marketing network.
Developing a relationship with each of your prospects is impossible without this kind of personal care after the sale. You are trying to establish yourself in your client's eyes as not merely a sales person with a great affiliate marketing program, but a real person, and a darn nice one to boot.
Side Benefits For You
There are other benefits to developing a relationship with each of your prospects. Sometimes something goes wrong and it's out of your hands to bring a quick resolution to your client's problem. Perhaps there is an unavoidable delay in shipping, or a computer glitch is making everything run late. If you've established a friendly trust between the two of you, your client is far more likely to stand by you during the difficulty if you've been there for him all along.
You'll also find that it's actually far more pleasant doing business with someone you've come to know a little. Developing a relationship with each of your prospects will do that for you, and you'll come to love your job that much more.
In a world full of impersonal online business transactions, there really is no substitute for developing a relationship with each of your prospects if you want to win and maintain their customer loyalty with your affiliate marketing program.