Sales is all about how to get more customers, and relationship funnels prioritize establishing a genuine connection with your customers. These allow you to build your audience’s trust by teaching them and focusing on providing value. They are then ready to be sold the answers to whatever problem they may have. Your prospects will be willing and ready to buy from you if you’ve done a fantastic job of creating and nurturing the relationship before this point.

The Relationship Funnel is designed to accomplish two goals:

1. To automate creating relationships with potential clients and then instilling purchasing beliefs.

2. To boost customer engagement and prepare them so that they can be presented with your offer, which will be the ideal answer to their problem at the ideal time.

Relationship funnel vs. sales funnel — What’s the difference?

It’s easy to confuse relationship funnels with traditional sales or marketing funnels, however, they differ significantly. Scarcity and urgency are common pressure tactics used in sales funnels to compel prospects to buy as soon as possible.

Relationship funnels, on the other hand, do not use high-pressure sales techniques. Instead, they concentrate on establishing relationships with prospects by providing value in the form of information and instruction. People who are exposed to a relationship funnel do not feel rushed or forced into making a purchase. Instead, customers are compelled to purchase as a result of the excellent experience they had with the relationship funnel.

A sales funnel focuses on the marketing campaign and purchasing process that leads to the acquisition of new and repeat clients. Conversely, relationship funnels concentrate on establishing long-term connections with clients through establishing trust and providing value.

Why do you need a relationship funnel?

Business connections, like personal relationships, are built on mutual benefit and trust. Relationship funnels, not surprisingly, prioritize supercharging your strategy by building relationships over making the hard sell.

  • Before selling a solution, establish a relationship.
  • After gaining trust, sell a solution.

Make sure you do this despite the fact that it may appear counterintuitive to your company’s growth objectives, especially when sales aim to maximize profits. It might even sound counterintuitive as it takes longer to establish trust and build connections with clients when using a relationship funnel.

Fortunately, when individuals build a relationship with a firm, they are drawn to great experiences and are more ready to buy. Keeping that relationship thriving is equally, if not more, important as loyal customers are more likely to repurchase, refer, and increase profits.

Let’s look at some key aspects of how to use a relationship funnel and how to develop a relationship strategy for your company whilst taking these into consideration.

1. Build and define relationships

When writing your business plan, consider that customer relationships begin the moment a consumer learns about your company. Whether it’s through a LinkedIn ad, a Google search result, a referral from a friend, or any number of methods.

Make sure that you prioritize making customer profiles that define your potential clients’ distinctive features and specialized demands. This is the first step in creating relationships. Customer profiles are an effective tool for giving your marketing, sales, and support teams a panoramic view of your consumers by gathering the following information:

  • Age
  • Income
  • Job title
  • Location
  • Purchase history
  • Hobbies
  • Goals 
  • Pain points
  • Turnover

Introducing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is a good way to capture everything about your existing customers and your future ones.

The second stage is to use a research technique known as Voice of Customer (VoC) to find out what people are saying about your company. You can use strategies to connect and engage with customers at every touchpoint in their relationship with your company by capturing VoC. You can also do the following:

  • Increase the level of client happiness and retention.
  • Analyze problem areas in customer complaints, bad feedback, and reviews, which are all early warning indicators of issues faced by your organization.
  • Personalize your products and services to meet your clients’ demands and needs.

2. Reel them in with niche marketing

When it comes to marketing, being ambiguous will get you nowhere. Make sure you optimize your content (including ads, video, blogs, social media, etc.) to attract more quality leads in the market segments you want to close and that you know will convert. Focusing your content to cater to the taste of your chosen niche market will hook them more than general topics that cover a wider audience. 

Who your audience is and understanding their interests will define what your content covers. It will also dictate how it’s presented, what channels you leverage, and how often you present it. Look for opportunities to measure and refine your messaging and assets. If something isn’t working in either introducing or strengthening your relationship with a customer, pivot and try something else.

3. Use language they understand 

If your ideal consumer is highbrow or enterprise-level, it’s possible that using phrases like “free” or “discount” in ads and offers will cheapen your product or service. This is true even if you’re only trying to stress your trial memberships or volume pricing because huge savings don’t add much value. Instead, focus on showcasing your unique selling points, and how your target will benefit from availing your product or service.

If you need inspiration look to your value proposition or mission statement as a starting point. There’s a good chance that some of the language or categories you established as a statement about your business will also resonate with customers. After all, you likely created these messages with your audience in mind.

4. Nurture relationships

Customers come and go — it’s part of the turnover in any business. Customers who come and stay, on the other hand, provide significantly more profit to your business.

Having an efficient nurturing strategy in place as customers enter your sales pipeline — by monitoring phone calls, for example — can help to strengthen relationships. If there is no explicit sales aim, nurturing relationships should serve to generate mutually advantageous exchanges — this means you can give something away to provide something of value to the customer, build upon your skillset, or expand your opportunities.

What, exactly, do you have to focus on to be able to cultivate relationships and relationship-building tactics?

Customer orientation

By implementing a customer orientation approach, it makes clear to the customer that their needs come first. The focus will be on using the product or service to help them, and not the other way around.

Email marketing

From sending emails of appreciation to sending usage updates and targeted campaigns, email marketing is a great way to make sure that customers know they are valued. At the same time making sure they are getting the full value out of your product or service, and that you care about them being satisfied with what you’re offering.

Social selling

Using social media to connect with potential leads and existing customers is a great way to form and maintain relationships. Businesses that use a social selling strategy create more sales opportunities and are more likely to reach their sales quotas.

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5. Be relevant to your customers

Make sure that your sales team has access to the marketing content they require for each customer category and step of the sales funnel.

Educate your sales funnel to help it grow. Demonstrate how your solution works by using case studies and show video content of happy clients who have faced comparable problems. Provide them with instructional materials — segment leads to ensure that they are receiving specific information rather than being bombarded with generic messages.

Determine how and when your lead wishes to be reached early on in the relationship. Knowing that they don’t check email beyond a certain hour or are rarely at their desk to answer a phone call improves time management and reduces aggravation. Instead, consider how to transfer a call at a convenient time for them.

Each discussion should end with a clear next step with the potential customer, such as another call, a demo, or a training session. 

6. Show your value

Give away some of your product or provide a service free of charge. This is a great way of offering customers more without cheapening your brand. Nothing sells more effectively than a business that isn’t actively or aggressively marketing. Instead, demonstrate how your product or service would answer your customer’s problem to gain their trust.

If your business involves graphic design, for example, demonstrate to a potential client the difference between a website created using free images downloaded from the internet and having bespoke images made. Reveal, step by step, how much effort goes into creating compelling graphics.

Make sure you show the client that your quick service can solve their unique problems while preventing new ones from arising. When you give them your proposal, they’ll have first-hand experience of how much money can be saved in the future by employing an expert rather than by cost-cutting.

7. Show them you’re a dynamic business

In your emails and on websites, use dynamic pictures or text that change to show tailored content. This can be determined by the gathered data from personalization platforms or customer data platforms. For example, let’s say you have an accountancy business that helps location-independent workers file their tax returns. You might want to include a dynamic email or website section that displays important dates and deadlines that vary based on the country they are from and the country they are in.

Even something as easy as greeting late-night visitors to your website (in their timezone) with a header saying “Don’t let tax give you a sleepless night” connects your business with the customer. Telling them you are there to help “Wherever you are in the world” will make them feel valued.

8. Consider the relational performance of your funnel

So, what metrics can you use to evaluate the performance of your relationship funnel? There are five quality actions that enhance client relationships rather than depending on metrics like sales and conversions.

  • Discovery — How the customer came to find your product or service, and if they were targeted correctly
  • Judgment — How the customer perceived your product or service upon discovery
  • Empathy — How much the customer feels the product or service understands and addresses their needs
  • Integrity — How well the reliability of the product or service was communicated
  • Trust — How much the customer feels the product or service will maintain superior quality throughout the continued relationship

Scoring these variables requires feedback and surveys from customers — make sure you collect data and measure performance.

Building relationships is beneficial for your business

Relationship funnels are more successful in the long run as they focus on relationship building before selling. Selling becomes much easier when people trust you and see that you can deliver value. To get optimal outcomes, relationship funnels integrate marketing automation technology and human psychology. They enable you to enter people’s hearts and minds and, as a result, lead to sales that allow your company to expand.

Relationship funnels also help you to scale your business while remaining relevant and personable with your audience. You won’t come across as pushy or insincere. You can simply be yourself and use your unique personality to connect with your audience.

Overall, a well-established relationship funnel can help you increase engagement, sales conversions, and ROI. It helps you focus more on providing actual value to your audience and developing genuine relationships. With this strategy in place, you can revisit your business model and potentially lower your marketing costs while increasing profitability.

AvatarGrace Lau

Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud-based phone system for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content.