Shaan Rais is a professional speaker and leadership and organizational development consultant.
Most people focus on marketing rather than the relationship in the phrase relationship marketing. They focus on targeting critical opportunities to generate sales and referrals. Though those are part of a good relationship marketing strategy, they should not be the primary focus. At the end of the day, people don’t buy your products or services; they buy you. The best way to establish a relationship is to be kind, caring and giving and by taking a personal interest in others every day. In his book The Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort shares three things your prospect must do before they buy from you:
• Love your product
• Trust your product
• Trust and connect with your business or company
Belfort says the biggest issue that blocks sales is a lack of trust and connection. With that in mind, there are two core principles you can utilize to build a strong relationship marketing plan in order to earn the trust of your prospects and generate sales.
1. Define your personal brand and build it with friendship, celebration and service.
This means you represent who you are in your brand and create friendship by celebrating your prospects and customers with appreciation. To represent who you are in your brand, you need to find out who you are first. Discover what you have to contribute, what makes you unique and pinpoint your unique selling proposition.
Once you get that nailed down, give yourself away by treating others in all walks of life the way you want to be treated. You need to be willing to give or share value, care about your customers and be humble. It makes building friendships easier. Birthdays, holidays and general life and business accomplishments are opportunities to build your brand with friendships. You can also do this by providing impeccable service to your customers. A thank you card is the most important impression you place on someone in your business dealings. The golden test is to simply think of how you feel when a company or individual you did business with does or doesn’t thank you. Think about how you feel when:
• You received nothing
• You received an email thanking you for your business but also asking you for more business
• You received a thank you email asking you to fill out a survey
• You received an impersonal form letter thanking you and asking you to do something
How can you improve that experience for your customers?
2. Utilize the 80/20 rule.
In this context, the 80/20 rule means that you spend 80% of your time on building a relationship and spend 20% on marketing. When you reach out to your prospects and customers, the primary focus should be relationships. Here’s how to effectively manage those relationships:
• Make a list of everyone you know and put them in a contact manager of your choice. Create three categories: contact, prospects and customers. Consistently add people to your list and move them through the three categories.
• Take detailed notes on all your business contacts and reach out to them in the spirit of relationship building using text messages, calls, emails or greeting cards.
• Listen more than you speak; always make it about them and how you can help them.
• Make your method of communication a habit. It takes patience and consistency to become a master at anything.
When you leverage the relationship marketing system that sends the right communication touches at the right time, it generates referral business and incremental sales. What you need is a way to express your heart and make a genuine connection with other humans. Your relationship marketing efforts rejuvenate your sales effort. If done correctly, it gets easier, and you build momentum. Think about it: If 100% of your leads come from referrals, how much easier will it be to generate sales? The referral gives you momentum as you increase your marketing and sales efforts. It’s like you coasted right through the “finding prospects” stage because the referral is the prospect. Of course, you still need to take care of the prospects with solid sales and service tactics because you need to convert your prospects into customers. As we head into 2022, keep these relationship marketing strategies in mind and apply them to your customer interactions to take your business to new heights.