Are your Customer Relationships Strong Enough for LinkedIn?


linkedin customer relationships

5 Strategies to Make Sure That Your Customer Relationships are Strong Enough to Show on LinkedIn

I just finished facilitating an interesting conversation with a group of sales professionals participating in a customized Strategic Business Selling learning journey. One of the topics of this training is leveraging social selling to enhance the selling process and to enhance the customer relationship and experience.

In the dialogue, we discussed the value and benefits of social selling including creating a network in LinkedIn. One of the participants in the session did not have a LinkedIn profile. “Why would I want my competitors to know who all of my prospects and customers are by advertising them all over the internet?” he shared during our discussion. The room went silent. Another participant shared that contacts are confidential, but someone else shared that there are many ways of seeing who is connected to whom including customers.

Soon after, the conversation got even more interesting as I became more provocative and challenging to the group. I shared with them my belief that in world-class strategic business selling your relationship with your customer should be strong enough to let your competitors know who your customers are. I challenged the group to think about it and we developed an in-the-moment exercise on what are the skills, tools, and processes needed to make my hypothesis a reality. The results of the discussion and activity were fascinating and worth sharing with our readers.

Here are five strategies to make sure that your relationships with your customers are so strong that your competitors can see them on LinkedIn:

1. Communicate and Deliver a Clear and Complete Value Proposition
The best way to secure and enhance your customer relationship is to deliver what you promised. A successful sales professional in 2016 and beyond must be a business person and must be able to clearly articulate, communicate, and deliver a value proposition that has real and tangible results. This is the only way to create relationship “lock-in.” Smoke and mirrors, over-promising, and under-delivering are the surest ways of hurting your customer relationship and open up competitors to step in and steal the business.

2. Confidence in your value proposition
Customers know when you don’t believe in your company, product, or value proposition. You must have absolute confidence in what you are selling, and that confidence has to be clear to your customer. If you do have complete confidence in the value proposition and are able to communicate and deliver it, you have achieved customer lock-in.

3. Your Customer Must Trust You (And You Must Trust Your Customer)
Trust is critical in a customer relationship. Your customer must have absolute trust in you, your company, your solutions, and your value proposition. In our discussion, we also identified that you must also have trust in your customer. Will that customer be a great reference? Will that customer stick with you if things get a little bumpy? Or will that customer discard you the moment the next great or cheapest thing comes along?

4. It Has to be Authentic
Is your customer relationship authentic? Authentic means that the relationship is real and genuine and is based on the appreciation of the true value that is exchanged between you and your customer. If your relationship is authentic, then you have the foundation for relationship “lock-in.”

5. You Must Have Mutual Respect
Every relationship is successful if there is mutual respect by all parties involved in the relationship. A customer relationship must be based on mutual respect as well. Real mutual respect is formed when you see and appreciate the value the customer has within their organization (and you want to help them succeed), and the customer sees and appreciates the real value that you bring to the table and respects your ideas and insights. Mutual respect is also part of the foundation of relationship “lock-in.”

If you are not actively participating in LinkedIn, take a look at our friends at PeopleLinx. They have created some great tools to efficiently create and maintain a social selling process.


Robert Brodo

About The Author

Robert Brodo is co-founder of Advantexe. He has more than 20 years of training and business simulation experience.