Strengthening Relationships with Customers

A client asks, “In last month’s newsletter you mentioned that Field Sales Representatives benefit from face-to-face contact with their customers. I have an Inside Sales staff and want to help them build the same relationships with customers that outside reps enjoy. How do I go about doing this?”

Developing customer relationships is more challenging for Inside Sales Representatives (ISR’s) because they don’t have the advantage of seeing their customers in person on a regular basis like Field Sales Representatives do. Here are some tips to help them forge strong relationships with customers:

  • Schedule occasional in-person visits so that they can meet their key accounts.
  • Require that they call the key customers in their territory a certain number of times per calendar quarter.
  • Print their photo on their business cards.
  • Post general biographical information along with their picture on your company website.
  • Send a newsletter or tip sheet out to customers on a regular basis featuring some content from the ISR.
  • Send out personalized holiday and “thank you for your order” cards from the ISR

The following suggestions might help to lessen the isolation ISR’s can sometimes feel and increase the scope of their network:

  • Sponsor their membership fee in an organization that serves your particular industry.
  • Provide off-site sales training on a regular basis.
  • Send them to occasional tradeshows in your industry and/or use them to staff your show booth.

By implementing some of the suggestions above, you are helping the ISR move away from being seen as an order taker or a voice on the other end of the phone. You are giving them the tools to form multi-dimensional relationships with their customers, and this will lead to an increase in sales revenue.