Nurturing New Client Relationships: Observations and Ideas

March 27, 2013 12:20 by Rebecca Doepke

A colleague of mine is a small business owner and she is amazing at developing deep, long lasting relationships with her clients. We were talking about her recent experience at a bank. Since I consult with several banks and credit unions on their sales and service programs, she thought I might be interested in her observations. I was and I thought you might be too.

Here’s the story:

After doing research and homework, my colleague selected a local bank to open a business checking account. She is on time for her appointment, greeted as she enters the bank, and the banker enthusiastically thanks her for choosing his bank. As the appointment moves forward, the banker does a great job of engaging in conversation with her and is interested in hearing her life story. She felt he really cared about her and her business.

The account opening process was long, but the banker was very detailed and did a great job. She was confident that her business accounts were in the right place.

A happy customer?

Yes, but she felt that he missed an opportunity.

Why

Being a business owner, my colleague knows the importance of relationships.

In her opinion, identifying new opportunities is one of the first steps in developing new business. But the critical part is developing those opportunities into relationships followed by the nurturing of those relationships.

Being in the business of opening new accounts at the bank, she was surprised that the banker ended their appointment with a weak thank you and the “give me a call if you need anything” statement.

What about the next touch point? How would he continue to stay connected to her? How would he know the financial needs of her business were being met?

What if she:

  • Had a cash flow problem?
  • Needed to make a large purchase?
  • Needed to pay employees or vendors and didn’t want to deal with issuing checks?

Although these weren’t immediate issues, they are questions she would probably have in the future. Wouldn’t the banker want her to automatically think of him as her resource for these questions?

My Suggestions

I have several, but starting out with a less traditional idea, there’s a very simple way the banker could have worked toward deepening the relationship immediately and moving forward.

Social media.

If the banker would have asked her “Are you on LinkedIn”, as most business owners are, she would have said yes. Better yet, what if the banker would have done his homework before the appointment? Imagine how impressed she would have been if he would have said, “As I was preparing for our appointment, I noticed you’re on LinkedIn. Would you mind if I sent you an invitation to connect?” Chances are, she would have said yes.

Who knows, maybe her LinkedIn connections (all 500+ of them) would see that she is connected with a business banker and just might ask her about her experience with the bank. (That’s called an opportunity for the banker).

In addition to leveraging social media, here are a few more ways to foster new relationships and stay connected:

  • Send a thank you card (thank you cards should go out the day of the appointment).
  • A phone call within two weeks to confirm the client received their checks and to ask there are any questions.
  • A phone call at 45 days to make sure all is well.
  • An invitation to review the client’s account activity and talk about other business needs (at 90 days, 6 months, annually).

What strategies have worked well for you when nurturing new client relationships?

Tags: , , , ,

Customer Expereince | Sales

Comments (2) -

Sonia Furini
Sonia Furini United States
5/16/2014 12:14:50 PM #

Wow!  I enjoyed reading about the unique approach you identified in the business banker's missed opportunities.  

I've worked in the banking industry for several years, specifically in training and development programs for business bankers and branch management.  I know very well how the training track goes in emphasizing the importance of building the relationship.  It's a shame this fellow missed out on capitalizing on this relationship!

Thank you for a fun and interesting read!

Reply

Dana Peters
Dana Peters United States
5/19/2014 7:40:08 AM #

Hi Sonia,

I am glad you found this post interesting. Rebecca is particularly passionate about the customer experience, especial in the banking industry.

Thanks,
Dana

Reply

Add comment

  Country flag

biuquote
  • Comment
  • Preview
Loading