Bank on a boat
Bank on a Boat
Photo courtesy of Mendimsum

Building up credit in your emotional bank account with customer relationships

In business, it is useful to remember two key aspects of sales and marketing:

  1. Our customers buy solutions rather than products and services.  What I mean by that is if somebody goes into a hardware store and buys a drill, it is because they want to make a hole, and they are buying a drill because it gives them their solution.
  2. During a transaction, either marketing or sales, the customer is buying the person that is conducting the transaction, not the organisation that the person is representing at the time.

Thinking about building your business, one approach to ensuring that you are the preferred supplier of both the person and solution for your customer is to build a firm foundation of trust and rapport with them by opening an emotional bank account.

The concept of the emotional bank account is well recognised in business although it is not always known as the emotional bank account, a phrase which is attributed to the late Stephen Covey.

The suggestion is that we treat our customer relationships (and other relationships outside business) as it were a bank account, paying into the account regularly and building up credit. What I mean by building up credit is to do things like:

  • communicating regularly with our customers
  • treating them with respect
  • being honest with them
  • occasionally do a little extra something for them like sending them useful articles
  • inviting them to join you for an event they might be interested in

By regularly paying into the account we are building the trust and rapport that is likely to lead to a long-lasting relationship with our customer.

By taking this approach, if, some reason, something does not go quite to plan with our customer, for example a product or service falls slightly behind the agreed delivery time, it is much mire likely that your customer will realise that this is a one-off issue and continue the relationship with us.

So, just like a financial bank, as long as we stay in credit, all is good in the relationship. If we continue with the financial bank analogy and have consistently stayed in credit and then we go through a temporary cash flow issue, it is much more likely that our bank will come to a mutually beneficial agreement with us than if we have been consistently overdrawn.

It is worth recognising that this needs to be an authentic and genuine approach to your customer relationship. If it is seen by your customer as manipulative in any way, it is likely to bring to an end the relationship that you have spent time and effort building up.

Now is the time to start building up credit in your emotional bank account. Think about all the opportunities that you have to provide something extra that will be of value to your customers. What ideas do you have to start-up and continue to pay into your emotional bank account?

So, what are you going to do today to start building a healthy positive bank balance with your customers?




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Geoff Langston

Founder and Managing Director at GL Connects
Geoff Langston is a Director of GL connects, customer experience development experts. Their approach is to develop leaders, managers, teams and individuals through tailored programmes that are designed to change and embed positive behaviours and attitudes. Geoff has been working extensively in the leisure marine industry for many years, delivering workshops for the BMF including the Intermediate and Advanced Marina Managers programmes. He also works with many leisure marine businesses including marinas, retailers, boat manufacturers, marine engineers and marine clothing suppliers.

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