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Earning Trust

In my previous life as a one-person marketing department for a 35-member law firm, I (your fearless writer) wore many hats. I had responsibility for creating advertising campaigns, soup-to-nuts planning of all seminars, receptions and tradeshows, and producing the firm’s quarterly newsletter. When it came to graphic design, I only knew enough to be dangerous, so I worked with an outside vendor who (a) taught me a lot about graphic production, and (b) served as my right arm when it came to developing effective materials that the partners loved. We collaborated on content and layout ideas. He educated me about things I knew little about at the time – like white space – and he helped keep me on track with my deadlines.

Over the five years we worked together, I came to rely on him not only for producing great results, but also as a resource of knowledge that could make me better at my job. His level of personal service, which often included hand delivering print-ready content to my door, kept me coming back. He was my trusted partner because he was willing to share his knowledge, and I knew I could always count on him to come through in the clutch. He was committed to my success.

Marketing workshop

Become a trusted partner.

So what’s the magic formula for reaching “trusted partner status” with a customer? At FLEXcon, we believe the answer is two-fold. The first is actually a combination of several things: consistency in quality and service, the utmost respect for confidentiality, going the extra mile to meet customer needs, and always delivering on what we promise, whether it’s an entire solution or a simple return phone call. These are the things that make doing business with us easy and give our customers the confidence that we’ll always meet their requirements accurately and on time. That’s the basic service piece.

Serve as a go-to resource.

More importantly, however, achieving trusted partner status is about being the resource that educates and guides in a way that enables success and ultimately helps your customers to lock in business. That means having a technical staff that can help navigate application challenges or serve as a guide through agency compliance issues. It’s offering educational opportunities through content on your website, webinars, seminars and the like from which your customers can learn about market trends, emerging technology and troubleshooting. It may even involve accompanying a customer to a co-supplier or vendor to offer advice or oversee production and ensure success. In short, it’s taking your level of service up a notch to where you become that go-to resource that leads to your customers’ increased profitability.

Commitment required.

Providing this level of service, however, requires a significant commitment on your part to the man hours needed to produce content and spend time in the advisor role, as well as the costs associated with travel or hosting events, with no visible direct link to your bottom line. For example, producing FLEXcon’s annual Films, Functions and Opportunities seminar requires a great deal of time on the part of our marketing department, business team members and key employees in various technical, product management & marketing roles throughout the company. Agendas must be established, caterers engaged, speakers and tour leaders identified and workshops organized. There is the time associated with engaging OEMs for equipment demonstrations and developing the various presentations for the seminar. It’s then two and a half days of behind-the-scenes management of the event itself, as well as the time required of presenters and hosts, both during and after business hours.

The event demonstrates our expertise, to those who attend and, also, our commitment to their success. So while we can’t draw a straight line from the associated costs to company profits, the value that customers indicate the event holds for them makes us confident that it does ultimately lead to a positive impact on our bottom line in the form of increased customer loyalty.

The pay-off.

When you engage in activities that help your customers gain expertise, which ultimately leads to increased business and improved profitability, while also providing a pleasurable experience, you all win.

Marketing workshop

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