7 tips for building long-term relationships with customers

Two people shaking hands

By Anthony Gatto, Shopify sales representative

As a salesperson, building long-term relationships is important because it leads to increased customer loyalty, repeat business, and referrals, ultimately resulting in higher sales revenue and sustained success for both the salesperson and the company. It demonstrates you’re not just interested in making a quick sale, and instead are interested in establishing trust, understanding your clients' needs, and helping them grow their businesses. 

Nurturing your relationships is like planting a tree. You don't just water it once and expect it to grow, but rather you tend to it and watch it flourish over time. Here are seven ways to build long-term relationships with your clients and prospects.

1. Build rapport

Your clients don't want to do business with a robot - they want to deal with a human being with whom they can share a connection. People are more likely to do business with someone they like and trust. 

Be personable, find common ground, and be genuine in your interactions. Did you notice a dog in their background? It’s the perfect opportunity to ask questions about their furry friend to create a connection and make the conversation more natural.

2. Understand your client

Nobody wants to be sold a solution they don't need. Understanding your clients’ needs and pain points is crucial to building a long-term relationship. It's not just about selling them a product or service - it’s about providing solutions to their problems. 

Take the time to listen to your client's needs and ask questions. Use open-ended questions that encourage your clients to share details about their situations. Instead of "Do you need help with your social media strategy?", try "What are your current social media goals? How are you measuring success?" Once you have a strong idea of what can help, offer the right solutions.

3. Provide value

Providing value is about going beyond the sales transaction. Share industry insights, provide educational resources, and offer support and guidance even after the sale.  You can also share case studies that showcase how your product or service has helped clients in similar circumstances.

4. Communicate clearly, concisely, and consistently 

Communication is the key to any successful relationship, and that includes the relationship between salespeople and their clients. 

Communicate clearly, provide timely updates, and address concerns promptly. Nobody likes to be ghosted. You want to be a reliable and dependable partner. To further enhance communication, use simple yet articulate language, proofread your writing, practice writing regularly, and even consider taking a writing course.

5. Practice honesty and transparency

Honesty is the best policy, and it's critical to building long-term relationships. It's essential to be up front about any limitations or challenges and avoid making promises you can't keep. 

Be transparent about pricing, product offerings, and any potential risks. This will ensure you have credibility with your client. 

6. Personalize it 

Use customer research, data, and insights to personalize your communications and provide relevant solutions to your client. 

Personal touches show you are taking your clients’ needs into consideration. Make sure you know everything you can about their businesses and offer information and solutions directly related to them. For example, if you have previously worked with a client in a similar industry, send your new client a case study showcasing how your solution helped another client overcome a similar problem.

7. Build a network

Networking is like having a big family: you have a support system, you learn from others' experiences, and you are introduced to other contacts. 

Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and use social media to build your network. You will connect with like-minded professionals and learn from them, which can help you elevate your career, experience, and lead to new opportunities. You can also use your network to help out your clients down the road. 

Building long-term relationships takes time, effort, and patience, but the rewards are worth it. So keep planting those seeds of connection, and watch as your relationships bloom and flourish over time.

If you're interested in learning more about sales at Shopify, check out our paid sales training program, Revenue School.