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RAAS - Relationships As A Service

What keeps your clients from just shopping for better pricing every time one of their subscriptions renews? Maybe its 2 seats of your minimal product, or maybe its 47 seats of the full suite. Regardless of the size, they could buy from any dealer, or from the manufacturer directly, and likely squeeze a better price out of someone.

Why do they stick with you?

Maybe it’s too much of a hassle to switch to a new dealer of record. Perhaps they don’t even know all the seats they have, and they’re dependent on you to keep track of it for them. It could be they don’t know of anyone else to buy from.

But is it that they value your relationship? Your organization?

In a time where manufacturers are pressing dealer margins, and selling more directly to customers, the relational side of the business has never been so important. How do you capitalize on it then? How do you do what other dealers can’t?

Relational rhythym. Set up a predictable pattern of behavior that your customers can come to rely on. Client’s like predictability. They like dependability. It’s what they expect from their family and close friends. So if you want a relationship with them that they value, that’s the price of entry.

How do you practically develop this kind of rhythm with such a huge number of clients? Try this approach.

  1. Plan your strategy. What is the best case scenario for your clients? Figure out what kind of relational contact would be ideal if you were in there shoes. More often is usually better.
  2. Develop your workflow. Who will do what? When will we email, when will we call, when will we visit? How will we be reminded of when we need to do what? This is where your CRM becomes vital. Configure your workflows and let it guide and remind you.
  3. Communicate. Your organization needs to be on the same page. If half of your reps are great at keeping up a good relationship with their clients, but half are not, it is going to undermine your progress.
  4. Execute. And don’t stop. Commit to your strategy for at least 6 months. If the feedback you receive from your clients isn’t overwhelmingly positive, adjust your approach.
  5. Document. As you touch base, record the things that you learn. How is their business doing? Are they working on a big project? What tools are they using to complete it? What is in their pipeline? What are their kids names? When is there birthday? The more you learn about them from them, the more it feels like a relationship to them. Keep careful notes of anything you learn about them and their business in your CRM. That way, the next time you check in with them, you have material to draw from to show them you care about who they are and what they do.
  6. Add Value. If you simply check in and ask the same questions each time, they will assume you are a robot. Don’t be a robot. Diversify what you say. Ask different questions, send them an article you think they might like, give them an overview of all of their licenses, etc. Deliver value to them (so you aren’t simply taking up their time) and your relationship will become meaningful. People don’t like losing meaningful relationships.

With careful planning and deliberate CRM configuration, you can develop a relational connection to your entire client base. What would it look like for your organizations revenue if you never lost a client? Never got surprised by a client not renewing?

Relationships as a Service isn’t complicated. It simply requires commitment.



Andrew Dunlap