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Relationship Marketing – Why and How You Should Be Doing It


Most entrepreneurs and small business people agree that creating relationships is important to their business. It’s how we get repeat business, referrals and new clients.

When you take the relationship marketing approach to your business, you are assuming 100% of the responsibility for developing and maintaining the relationship.

I have a client who is a well-known natural healer. He contacted me because he wasn’t busy enough. We updated his branding so it reflects his target market, began doing a regular e-mail newsletter, and held an open house with cooking demos. His business doubled, primarily from existing clients.

Why did this work so well? Because he brought his business to them on their terms. His brand imagery reflects their preferences and drivers. His newsletter is benefit-oriented. They got personal attention and engaged in demos they were interested in. He didn’t wait for them to need him, he took the initiative. In a nutshell, he made them feel valued and attended to.

For a lot of us, having an open house just isn’t practical though. This is why I developed my Hot List. This is a list of 25+ of my best clients, prospects and referral partners. Everyone on that list hears from me at least every 4-6 weeks. It’s not too often for them, and I make them feel special and valued. Trust me, this is worth your time.

Speaking of hot lists, let’s talk about LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great example of content marketing. One of the goals of content marketing is to start conversations so you can develop relationships from there. And this does work to an extent, some groups have very active conversations around the content. But what I’m seeing is vast amounts of information being pushed, with very few conversations. And yet your target markets are there. So how do you bridge this?

I admit, I used to get mildly annoyed when someone I scarcely knew endorsed me. I met them for five minutes at a networking event, and they’re endorsing me? And how about when you get the e-mail from LinkedIn telling you who’s viewed your profile? What do they want? I decided to find out. They came knocking on my door, so I opened it wide and invited them in. I’ve gained new clients, gotten more referrals, and even got some fellow marketers following me to learn by example.

I put my annoyance aside and approached it from a benefit-oriented angle. I put myself in their shoes. When you’re in line at the store and someone starts a conversation with you, what do you think they want? How about when they compliment you – on your shoes for instance. On a fundamental level they at least want to be acknowledged. Imagine if I ignored them. Isn’t that what you’re doing when you don’t respond on LinkedIn?

Nope, I’m going to thank my new friend/contact. I might return a compliment too. The trick here, and in all of your relationship marketing, is to do it in a benefit vs. feature oriented way. Do I also tell them about all my other awesome shoes? Nobody likes the friend who brags too much. And most people don’t like to feel they are being sold something.

It can be tricky turning features into benefits, but it will go a long way for you. My strategy is to think of it from their perspective. What do they want, and how can I help them? The relationship naturally takes off from there.

I like to use tools that work really hard for me and are super easy to use. So I developed 5 customizable scripts to use for various LinkedIn scenarios. Then I e-mailed the scripts to myself in the body of the e-mail. Now when I get a notification from LinkedIn, I just scroll down to my script and reply. Easy. If you’re interested in creating prosperous relationships too, you can get the scripts here.

Connie Kroskin