November 06, 2015

How to Make the Most of Your Business Relationships Today


We all know the bottom line here; you want to build your business and you want to maintain the business relationships you already have.

While this may seem like a daunting task for anyone to take on and remain a sane human being, we can assure you there are some tricks to it. It all begins and ends with data. And no, it doesn't require you to throw your business relationships out the window, if anything, your relationships with your customers and network can tell you more than you think. We've got the goods on how to make the most of your business!

To jump right in, you can utilize your current contacts and network to mine for this precious data. First, begin by asking yourself a couple of key questions:

    • How did I get my current customers?

    • What can my current customers do for or share with me?

    • How am I successfully connecting with my business relationships?

    • How am I struggling to connect with my relationships?

    • What platforms work well to connect with my contacts?

    • When was the last time I reached out to my contacts and network?

The answers to these questions can help you to think more productively about the way you're creating and maintaining your business relationships. They can also help to point you in the right direction of improving how you reach out to your network and continue to follow up with them. When you're ready to move beyond these questions, you can start taking a look at your metrics and data. Before you panic, these metrics and data are just waiting for you to dive into...ready?

Key Relationship Metrics to Take a Closer Look at:

1. Follow-Ups

Have you been snoozing on keeping in touch with some (or all) of your contacts? Wake up! Set a weekly or daily goal for yourself on the number of follow-ups and stick with it. Whether you're sending them a quick email, sharing an article, or reaching out via LinkedIn, staying top-of-mind with your network is one of the most important ways to maintain a strong relationship with them.

2. Email Open Rates

So, you perfected your email, included a great article and sent it off to your network....but the email you sent out at midnight was not opened nearly as much as you had wanted. Take a closer look at the open rates for the emails you're sending out. You'll begin to understand when your contacts, customers, and network want to hear from you. Not only that, you'll be able to determine when exactly during the day they're looking through their inbox and are most likely to open an email.

3. Click-through Rates

This is a key metric in understanding what exactly your contacts and network are interested in and what they want to hear from you. Did they click through to your website? Or maybe you shared an article with them and they didn't click through to it. It's a great indicator of whether you're sharing the right information with them, or whether they're interested enough to interact with that info. If they're just skimming your emails and if you maybe, just maybe, should switch up the type of content you're sharing with your contacts.

4. Replies

Send out an email and hear nothing but crickets in response? Awkward. Keeping track of your reply rate goes hand-in-hand with everything from your subject lines to the open and click-through rates on your emails. Compare your follow-ups with rate of replies; what's that ratio look like? If it seems like your inbox is suddenly flooded, then you're doing something right! Your customers want to hear from you and they like what you've got to say.

5. Social Shares

How's your social media presence looking? Whether you're on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, connecting with your contacts on those platforms can give you endless data to mine through and take advantage of. But you have to start by putting something out there! If you went to a great conference this weekend, and you want to impart some of that wisdom with your contacts quickly, then get it out there on social media. Take a look at who's 'liking,' sharing, or retweeting your posts -- it can be a great indicator of the kind of information, expertise, and knowledge your network wants to hear from you.

6. Sales

Where are your sales coming from? Was it that follow-up phone call you made to that one client the other day? Or maybe it was a customer who clicked through on an email or found you through that pearl of wisdom you shared on Facebook. Either way, most sales are not appearing out of thin air, there's almost always some sort of catalyst, and that catalyst is triggered when you're staying at the top of your network's mind. Knowing those catalysts will help you understand what's making your customers get interested enough to follow through and buy.

The Purpose of Data

Data is at the heart of almost every aspect of your business just have to know where to look for it. Almost all of that data can be further utilized to nurture those relationships and create new ones. Now that you've begun to mine and find your data and metrics, the challenge lies in understanding it and utilizing it for your business, your network, and those future relationships you're hoping to make and maintain.

When you're ready to move forward beyond your own data, you can start by researching trends such as popular email content and subject lines, and comparing them to your own stats. It's an excellent way to start understanding what works for others and how you can apply those methods to your communications to help you hook new customers and keep your current network in the loop!