Building Positive Customer Relationships

Positive, regular engagement with customers means we are more likely to get the yes when we sell-in a new product, activity or service. If we demonstrate to our customers, that we understand their business, and want to grow it, this all bodes well for the longer-term relationship. We should ensure we meet (either virtually or face to face) as regularly as possible. We shouldn’t wait every quarter, or annually for the big brand plan sell-in. Having regular dialogue means we don’t miss opportunities and have a finger on the pulse to our customer’s needs.

Here are some of our top tips on how to ensure you are engaging with your customer effectively:

  1. Create the pipeline: This may sound obvious, but make sure you have something to sell! If you are purely selling in brand campaigns/PR, this isn’t a wow factor for retailers, unless it is bespoke to them and their shoppers. Whilst new product development (NPD) can be resource heavy, in today’s ever changing, demanding and competitive market, manufacturers need to generate new products in order to compete and engage with consumers. Retailers want new things for their shelves, so they can create brand loyalty and drive footfall. So aim high, and keep evolving.
  2. Know your customer: When presenting your brand and commercial plans, ensure it is relevant to your customer. Demonstrating you understand their business and needs, and that your plans deliver again these, will mean not only will you be more likely to get the successful sell, but it will also go a long way to building a respected business relationship with your customer.
  3. Timing: Timing is everything. Knowing your customer means you should know when their planning cycle happens, so ensure you are presenting your ideas in advance of when decision making happens. Don’t leave it late and miss the boat. Align your business rhythm and cycles to your key customers. Engage regularly with your customer for on-going positive dialogue.
  4. Quality not quantity: Avoid death by PowerPoint! Your presentations should be simple, easy to follow and clearly show the benefit to your customer. Don’t provide multiple slides on things they already know, such as target consumers, success of previous activity. Focus on the now and future and sell the big innovation or activity you have to help grow their business.
  5. Get the right team to meet the customer: Make sure the right people are presenting the ideas to the customer. Try to mirror the customer attendees so the same number and level of attendees are there from your side; for example if Senior Buyer is present, then the National Account Manager should be present, or if the Category Director is present, so should your Category Director.
Do you need support in engaging effectively with your customers to build stronger relationships? Then get in touch at
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