In distribution, building sound relationships is key to long term growth. There are many good business books that share useful tips for engaging with and improving upon customer relationships. Below are five simple practices for building and maintaining professional relationships in wholesale distribution.
1. Build from a solid foundation
How you interact with your customer from the start matters, and you should assume that every part of your exchange will be evaluated. Be as courteous on the phone as you are in person. The same rules apply for email communications with the caveat that you should always use good grammar and correct spelling. First impressions are ipmortant. 😉
2. Keep your commitments
This is pretty straight forward. If you set a time frame, meet it. If you say you will call them at 11am on Tuesday, then call them at 11am–don’t email or put it off until after your Arby’s run. Managing expectations and following through are easy ways to demonstrate your credibility and reliability.
3. Find out your customer’s preferred method of communication
Email, phone, in-person, carrier pigeon–each customer has a preferred means of communication, and abiding by their preference conveys respect versus what is convenient to you. Unless, of course, it really is carrier pigeon, then you may want to introduce them to… Twitter.
4. Say “I” less
Relationships are a two-way street. Avoid talking too much about yourself and ask your customer open-ended questions. It’s an excellent way to build comfort and get your customer to open up. Once a comfort level is established, conversations about work will easily expand into more casual topics like personal interests, recreational activities, and family. Avoid political talk as it can easily derail the relationship you’re trying to cultivate.
5. Get together out of the office
Having established a rapport, getting out of the office together is a great way to reinforce the relationship. Meet for lunch, catch a game, go fishing, try hang-gliding–the options are endless, but the result is the same: a more robust relationship with your customer.
Because building relationships takes dedication and diligence, you need a CRM that works as hard as you do. ERP-ONE’s user friendly CRM feature is fully integrated across the entire suite of innovative ERP business applications and provides convenient access to customer accounts from any part of our comprehensive software. By utilizing ERP-ONE’s efficient CRM, you’ll have more time to focus on cultivating the relationships that matter most to your company. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 856.380.0629 to learn more!
Every single customer has unlocked transformational improvements using Distribution One’s ERP-ONE software solution. Now it’s your turn!
“Distribution One has allowed us to deliver 30% more orders without having to increase our labor force.”
“ERP-ONE actually helps our business be more productive. We operate more efficiently because our software performs like a world-class product. And that’s not marketing hype. We trust in its reliability. It is one of the best decisions our company made.”
The Nut Place
“ERP-ONE tracks product costs and sales margins for us… that benefit alone has added 4% to our bottom line after the first year of implementation and has more than paid for the cost of ERP-ONE.”
Colorado Industrial Packaging
“Enhanced productivity, lower operational costs, higher service levels, and stronger customer relationships—it’s all been attained through our ability to provide continuous real-time data generated through the myriad of programs within ERP-ONE.”
-President & CEO
A-Jax Fasteners and Tools
“Having spent 30 years on the operations side of distribution using SAP and AS400 software, I have not encountered a better system than ERP-ONE. The efficiencies and expandability has allowed us to improve our sales by $500,000 per employee in a year.”
-Chief Operating Officer
“Working with you and the rest of your staff has been an excellent experience. From the initial training sessions at our facility to the ongoing tweaking and improvements we continue to make, it has been a pleasure doing business with such professional, and yet personable, individuals.”
“We had immediate visibility into which sales representatives were performing and which product lines were providing the best return for our business.”
On Time Supply
“The ability to manage orders online has created greater efficiency in their business and has delivered more flexibility in modifying and tracking orders. Changes to an order instantly cascade all the way through the terminals and the processing stations cutting production time by at least 15%.”