I was out walking my dog this morning and I met up with another dog owner. We started chatting about relationship marketing. I was trying to explain to him about social media and email and how people can relate to using those tools in relationship marketing. He came back to me and said, “I’m not a big fan of social media because of all the censoring.” So I said, “Well, censoring is one thing, but I think what you’re really talking about is filtering.” Censoring means that they absolutely take things away, which happens to some degree. But more importantly, social media filters out stuff you don’t want to see. It’s an echo chamber.
What is Relationship Marketing?
The way I look at it is it’s creating a connection between salespeople, your current and past clients, and your perfect prospects.
What you’re trying to do with this type of marketing is create a conversation between two people. There are three big ideas around relationship marketing that I want to share with you today.
The first big idea is this, why do we want to do relationship marketing? Well, because it works. Businesses do not do business with other businesses, people do business with people. And when you really think about B2B sales, those transactions happen in one of three ways, either through a phone call, an email, or in person. So, again, businesses do not do business with other businesses, people do business with people. That’s the cornerstone of relationships marketing.
Think about this, when you call somebody, you’re a salesperson, but when they call you, you’re an expert. The goal is to build a relationship where people rely on you for your expertise and your wisdom. That you have answers to their problems.
Who Creates Your Content?
One of the major challenges of having salespeople be part of a relationship marketing system is they’re not content creators and not all tools are created equal. Yes, CRMs are awesome, and yes, you can send emails from them, but they’re not going to create the content for you. A lot of times you’re using templates. But the key thing is that a CRM is about building that relationship, it’s not about delivering marketing messages.
The other thing that you have to think about is your messages across all of your sales team. Your entire organization needs to be universal in order to build trust. If you’ve got two different salespeople saying different things and somebody talks to both of them, you start to erode that trust. You need to make sure that the messages you’re putting out are universal across the board.
And finally, creating content is not the salesperson’s job. Their job is to build relationships with your customers. But frankly, I’m not a good writer, I hire people to do that for me. When I’m working for my customers, I hire people who understand how to use language to create content that generates interest and creates conversations.
Moving on to the second big idea, this is the what. What do you need to do in order to utilize relationship marketing? I say there are three core concepts. Number one, you need to be visible. Number two, you need to be resourceful. And number three, you need to be accessible.
And that’s because when businesses promote something, it’s more like advertising, but when a person promotes something, it’s more like advice. Let’s explore that a little bit more.
What does it mean to be visible? Well, when a business puts out something, it can come through more as an ad, especially in your email. But when you get an email from a particular person with that same information, somebody that you know, like, and trust, it comes across differently. Businesses do ads, people do advice. And as Dale Carnegie said, “There is no sound as sweet as the sound of your own name.”
The next concept is being resourceful. The goal here is to gather questions from people who are talking to your salespeople and answer those questions so that your audience knows that you understand the questions in their heads. That’s what being resourceful is about, being aware and also conscious of how your audience is consuming and utilizing that information.
The next piece is being accessible. That means you have to be engaged. If people are engaging with your content, you need to go and engage with them. Say thank you or answer their questions. The bottom line is, what we’re trying to do with relationship marketing is creating conversations.
Moving on to the third big idea, this is the how. How do we go from creating content to creating conversation? How can you amplify that message so it creates your desired result? The way that we do that is by getting everybody in your sales team, even your entire organization to post personally. This means that it’s on their personal profile.
The second piece of this puzzle is you have to post consistently. Think about getting an email from somebody. If you get one, one day, and then two months later, you get another one, and then the next day you get five emails, your tendency is to want to unsubscribe. But if you get a consistent email from somebody once a week and that information is relevant to you, chances of you staying are great. So, consistency is really the key to making this work.
And then finally, the last piece of this is you have to train your people. Relationships are the currency of business, but if your people don’t understand the concept and the reason for doing this, you won’t be successful. The bottom line is you have to get them to engage with their tribe of people. And generally speaking, each one of your salespeople will have about 150 unique individuals that they will communicate with on a regular basis. Once you train people how to do this, they become more successful.
Amplify Your Messages
Now, imagine you have one person with 150 people that are talking to an audience, that’s awesome. But if you have 10 people, 10 salespeople, 10 employees in your organization, and they’re all sharing the same message at the same time, that amplifies your message to over 1,500 people. And that’s where the money meets the road. That’s how you can amplify your messages to generate more sales through relationship marketing.
Let me give you an example of this in a case study. There’s a legal firm that I work with that came to me and said, “Hey, we’ve been posting to our blog, we’ve been getting good results, good traffic, but we’re not getting enough sales.” And the reason was that they were putting it up on their business pages and occasionally sending it out as an email, but it wasn’t getting amplified because nobody else in their business was commenting, liking, and sharing. So, we took that same information, those old blog posts, and we got access to 10 different people’s LinkedIn accounts and started posting on their behalf and then taught them to go in and actually comment.
What happened? Their content was getting many more views, many more likes, and a lot more engagement, and their sales increased because of that personal one-on-one connection. So, when you’re out walking your dog, be prepared to have a conversation about something interesting with your neighbors. You never know when it’s going to lead to a relationship that can generate something new for your business.
All sales (not online) happen via a phone call, email, or in-person.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about what great advice you would share about relationship marketing. How does your business ensure people are interacting with people? Have you been working to amplify your marketing message? What worked and what did not live up to your expectations? Do you have any ideas or other advice you could share?