“What’s in it for me?”
This is an all-too familiar question for many businesses, even if it isn’t always phrased in such a basic way. But frequently winning new customers and contracts takes on a personal character, because when it boils down to it, most offers are only as good as the person making them.
Robert Taylor, Relationship Director at Royal Bank of Scotland is very clear about how the dynamics of personality can come into play in business relationships.
“When it comes to prospective customers, the people I am talking to, in and around Greater Manchester, definitely want to know how we’re going to be different”
The key for Robert is relationships, and he has a specific example of how relationships can make or break a business deal.
The Deal Breaker
“I had a Financial Director contact who was considering switching their business from their existing bank. He had his Managing Director in the room with him, so it was a kind of two-way exchange, with him as the middle man. The MD asked my contact to ask me what would make it worth his while switching over to us – what could we do that would be different?”
“It was late on a Friday afternoon so I suggested that the MD phone his existing bank manager first, to see if he could get him”, Robert continues. “I could hear murmured conversation, then a pregnant pause. Then the MD himself came on the line to ask if could I come in and see him the next week”.
The point was, that Robert knew that if the MD had tried to immediately contact his current bank manager he would not have been able to reach him. And the MD realised this as soon as Robert suggested he made the call.
“I was making myself available,” Robert concludes. “At the same time, I had to get him to understand how much better that would be, in comparison with the service he was getting from his existing provider”.
Personalising your service can be the key to winning customers because lasting business relationships are built on trust”
If you know someone is not going to return your calls or reply to your emails, it should not involve a huge leap of faith to take your business elsewhere, to someone who can demonstrate a personal level of commitment to you.