With so much noise, getting customers to hear you can feel like yelling at a band during a sold out concert. Instead of shouting through a megaphone, why not stand out as a familiar face in the crowd? Building strong, meaningful relationships requires getting to know customers on a personal level. An effective way to establish that connection is through personalization.
Personalization isn’t just including the customer’s name in the subject line. It’s a multi-tiered approach that becomes increasingly more personal as the customer progresses through the sales funnel. With so much competition fighting for your customers’ attention, being perceived as a trusted advisor is now more important than ever. How do you position yourself as the person a customer turns to when they need answers?
People want to buy from people they like, and liking someone begins with getting to know them. Taking the time to personalize each piece of communication builds familiarity and trust. To do this, you’ll need to demonstrate an understanding of the industry, the company, and the person.
This isn’t a lesson on how to make friends (but it could be). We’ve detailed three steps to help develop deeper, more meaningful connections with customers through personalization. The end goal is to leave the customer with a familiar face in the noisy sales landscape. Earn their business by positioning yourself as a strategic partner and trusted advisor.
Step 1: Personalization That Starts the Conversation
Getting a prospect to engage with your emails can be tough. Their inbox is likely overflowing, just like yours. Who has time to read every email and decipher value? The first email needs to be brief; let the prospect know who you are and demonstrate that you’ve done your research.
Pitching your solution in the first email isn’t the answer. If anything, pitching too early will deter a prospect from engaging in further conversation, and who could blame them? They need to know who you are before they consider buying your solution.
The initial email should be direct and straightforward. Get to the point early and detail what you want to discuss with three bullet points. Make it clear why your solution is relevant to the prospect. There’s no need to add fluff; you want to respect their time and spark interest.
This email example is short, sweet, and to the point. Providing three bullet points lets the prospect know precisely what you want to discuss, and the opening sentence serves as a simple introduction. Doing research shows that you want to speak to the prospect for all the right reasons. The prospect should read the email and think, “Hey, this person gets it. Let’s see what they have to say.”
Step 2: Personalization That Relates to the Company
After an initial conversation, you should have a deeper understanding of the company and their challenges. To keep the conversation moving forward, you’ll need to use information from the initial call to further personalize communications.
Sharing content that is relevant to a prospect’s challenges encourages the conversation to progress further. Relevant is the keyword. Don’t contribute to the noise; make sure the content you send adds value. Check out this example:
The email above is specific to the prospect and relates back to the previous conversation. Not only does it show you were listening and thinking about the discussion, but it also adds value that creates another opportunity to connect. Demonstrating an honest desire to help a prospect succeed will help develop the relationship even further. We all want to feel like we have someone looking out for us.
Step 3: Personalization for the Person
By now, you and the prospect should be on a personal level with one another. Maybe not invite-you-over-for-Thanksgiving personal, but close enough that they see you as a resource and business partner. Incorporating a personal touch after an in-person meeting helps drive home the deal and nurtures the relationship. A handwritten note is a unique way to further personalize communication (and maybe get an invite for Thanksgiving).
Taking note of information related to hobbies, interests, and family helps to add a deeper layer of personalization. If you know your prospect’s son loves the Braves and has a birthday coming up, send a handwritten note with a couple of tickets to the next game.
Handwritten letters are a direct, physical connection that goes deeper than an email. When was the last time you printed out an email to save in your desk drawer? You’re doing more than just selling a solution; you’re developing a bond that will create a customer for life.
Personalization Leads to Becoming the Trusted Advisor
The goal of personalization is to rise above the noise and build a stronger relationship with the customer. The benefits of being a trusted advisor go beyond a closed deal. Payoffs manifest in other tangible (and profitable) ways.
People want to buy from people they like. Once you’ve developed a personal connection with the prospect, you become a partner. That relationship makes upselling and renewals easier, resulting in a recurring revenue stream. It can also help you earn referrals.
We all “know a guy.” Customers are more likely to refer others to people they like and trust. In fact, 92% of buyers trust referrals from people they know. We have a short video on that here. When colleagues have concerns or questions, the customer will know who to go to for an answer. In other words, you can be their guy!
Sales is an art, not a science. There isn’t a formula for the combination of phone calls, emails, and social touches that result in a closed deal. We have research that can help find effective strategies to increase engagement, but building strong relationships is a step in developing an effective strategy for winning deals.