Relationship Marketing: The Most Overlooked yet Necessary Skill
Just about everything is out in the open when it comes to social networks like Facebook, Instagram, etc. People are being much more open, right? Consumers are sharing large amounts of information about themselves online, and as an entrepreneur, you can use that in creative and respectful ways to actually reach out and create new relationships and/or deepen existing ones. Entrepreneurs can use these platforms to create new relationships with prospects, customers and potential business partners. This is relationship marketing.
Relationship Marketing Explained
The essence of relationship marketing is a personal or emotional connection to a brand (business or company). This connection is centered on trust that is created through the consistent delivery of a product or service that meets or exceeds customer expectations.
For most of you, this term is probably pretty familiar. From the beginning, a relationship marketing emphasis meant brands were recognizing the need to move beyond a series of just sales.
Ask yourself this; Where is the last place you shopped?
Perhaps it was someone online because you needed to melts for your candle warmers – did you seek out someone you already knew? Take a recommendation from a Facebook Post you may have put up? Or did you simply go to the website and pick someone random?
How about the grocery store. You shop there weekly – no line ups, three cashiers open. Do you choose the one who moves the quickest and packs your bags the way you like? Or do you just go to the closest one?
Let’s talk about your barber or hairdresser for a moment. Do you visit the same one over and over? Or, do you just go wherever you can? Does your hairdresser know all about your family, your children, your pets and your last vacation?
My point is, somewhere along the way developed a relationship with those people. You trust them to buy candles from, you trust they will pack your bags the way you like, and you trust them with scissors to your head. These are all prime examples of where relationship marketing exists in your life every day. So knowing this, why is it so overlooked in an industry that we are introduced to as a ‘relationship marketing opportunity’?!
How Profitable in this Strategy?
When a business, in this case you, implements an effective relationship marketing strategy, it becomes more profitable—since the focus shifts from constantly trying to acquire new customers to understanding more about the behaviors, wants, and needs of existing customers and markets.
Through relationship marketing an entrepreneur aims at creating a relationship or comfort zone with a prospect that doesn’t aim at a ‘one off sale’.
The aim is to make lifetime business relationships.
- Relationship marketing aims at delivering value to the customers even beyond their sales opportunities
- In layman’s terms, it is here that you take your customers as the main aim
It may be like taking your customer as your friend and talking to him, listening to him and even solving his problems even if it’s beyond your product scope.
You see how powerful that can be?
Where does Relationship Marketing Start?
In order to best serve the customer or prospect you need to know who they are.
Only after the initial ‘knowing’ you can think of ways that are aiming to serve the person better. For this, get on social media (if you’re not already). Social media marketing is an essential step in knowing who your audience is.
Because, whether they realize it or not – their profile will often tell you all you need to know as a starting point.
You could know the basics about who your audience is by analyzing your product (and you should). If your product is something related to women find your business prospects on Facebook.
So, you meet someone on Facebook – share some common interests, conversation is going well, now what? Do you jump into your company pitch? Talk about something you are not even so sure about yet? Basically, verbally vomit all over them? NO!
Cliche warning … People buy from others they know, like and trust.
Do you expect someone to buy from you when in one moment you are having a real conversation and suddenly you become an infomercial? I mean, would you? Of course not.
This person connected with you for reasons completely unrelated to your business. In fact, they may not even know you have one! So do yourself a favor and set the business aside for a moment and get to know them. People will tell you everything you need to know to cultivate a sale or partnership later, but quit rushing the process.
Think back to the last time you received an inbox message from someone you didn’t know, but had a link attached. Did you buy whatever they were selling? No, of course you didn’t. So why do we think it’s OK to do the same with our own opportunities?
This happens, because people become attached to the sale instead of the person.
Stay true to who you are and let things happen naturally.
Keep in mind, I am not suggesting you have hour long conversations with people – but a couple minutes here and there can make all the difference in the world.
Especially, when your Facebook Timeline for example, will help keep those same people engaged as well. If you are dismissing someone after a limited interaction – or they dismiss you because of your in your face sales, the rest of your efforts go unused.
Be intentional about how you can potentially help, serve and impact every person. Not finding ways to sell, convince or mislead someone. Be a human not a robot. People will always remember how you make them feel – so make them feel good, and want to come back and share more conversations with you.
Which leads me perfectly, into my next tip!
Communication and its Role in Relationship Marketing
NowI’m sure it’s of no surprise to you that communication plays a pivotal role in relationship marketing. The first sign that your communication might be in trouble is when both parties aren’t contributing to the conversation. Remember above where I mentioned ‘word vomit‘?
This is typically where the customer or prospect starts to tune you out. They might suddenly remember ‘something’ they had to do or, simply cut you off.
Effective communication, is a two-way street.
Now I feel like I need to clear a couple things up. In recent posts (that you can find here) I talk about the process of using FORM. And, I think where this great outline was lost, was people were diving right into that strategy without even having a conversation. FORM should not be used as your checklist but as a guide to places you want to take a conversation when it fits best.
If it feels forced in your conversation – then, it is not the right time. So, learn the strategy sure, but there are appropriate times to use it and times it needs to just stay locked away.
Communication should be ongoing. It is part of the relationship marketing focus that needs to continue, be nurtured, revisited, and so on. The chances of having one conversation and it converting to sales or otherwise, is unlikely.
Not impossible, but unlikely and certainly not duplicable.
Let’s Talk About Attraction Marketing
Let’s go back to the person you had that first conversation with. Perhaps you met through a mutual interest group, and you’ve been chatting positively, for a week now. Your timeline however, is filled with negativity.
Are you likely to continue to foster that relationship, or is it more likely that ‘prospect’ will slowly start to be less interested?
Or, on a positive note …
Let’s say you have been posting about your journey to health. You aren’t mentioning any type of products or services – you are simply sharing your journey. You might be talking about how much better you feel, more energy, etc. Perhaps you share a weight loss milestone, or a new weight lifted at the gym or, could be showing off in your new bathing suit!
Whatever it is, you are likely attracting people to a few things;
- Your journey, authenticity
- Your results
- Piqued interest
Chances are, you will resonate with someone. There are people out there who are looking for what you have shown them is possible. And, you’ve done so without being an informercial.
The best part about attraction marketing (when used effectively) is that you attract the people you are looking for. Become the hunted, versus the hunter. Because, from the attraction you are able to connect, build and foster relationships.
Conversations on Social Media
What we found with many of our clients when we broke down their ‘productive’ social media time was this; Too many were caught in the web of simply scrolling the newsfeed. If we’re being honest, that can be a dangerous rabbit hole some days! So the suggestion was have more conversations. Be intentional while spending time on Facebook (or other platforms). See a post you like? GREAT! Drop a like or a comment, and go as far as messaging the person to say ‘hey loved your post on … ‘
You just opened up what would have been a cold conversation..
… and they led you right to it!
Whether you are building your business full time, or part time the strategy of having more conversations will help you boost sales and become more profitable before you know it.
And, I found personally, the more time I spent in my inbox, versus the newsfeed, my own success continued to grow. My relationships became more meaningful. What’s your experience with inbox conversations? Are they happening enough?
I would really encourage you to spend more time in this area of social media than anywhere else. They key is building up ongoing conversations with new people all the time.
Keep ‘filling that funnel’, ‘planting those seeds’.
I believe, 70% of your time on social media should be spent somewhere like Facebook messenger. And, 30% of your time on the platform of choice (Facebook, etc.).
These conversations will help you build trust with people. This trust is what will fuel your business. Culturally, ethically, financially, and everything else!
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