On my whiteboard I have the question “What is Relationship Marketing?”.
What is Relationship Marketing?
If you Google “what is relationship marketing” it is defined as…
a form of marketing developed from direct response marketing campaigns which emphasizes customer retention and satisfaction, rather than a dominant focus on sales transactions.
In 2008 author Robert W. Palmatier wrote a Relevant Knowledge Series on Relationship Marketing for the Marketing Science Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In the Executive Summary it states:
Relationship marketing and customer relationship management have taken a central position in marketing strategy in the past two decades. A confluence of factors, including the transition to service-based economics; advances in communication, logistics, and computer technologies; increased global competition; after faster product commodization have enhanced the salience of relationship-based loyalty to sellers compared with out marketing mix factors. Moreover, some of these trends are simultaneously increasing customers’ desire for the unique characteristics found in relationship-based exchanges.
The executive summary goes on to say:
Sellers, relationship marketing returns can be enhanced by better understanding the customer’s perspective. In particular, selling firms that can measure and appreciate their customers’ relationship orientation, that is, their need and desire for a relationship, can enjoy significant benefits.
Relationship Marketing: My Definition
There are 3 aspects of relationship marketing. You need to build relationship with prospects and clients. Next you need to cultivate the know, like and trust factor. Lastly, all of this needs to be done with fairness and integrity.
Aspect 1 of Relationship Marketing
How do you build relationships with prospects and clients? I think this is one of hardest questions we ask ourselves as business owners. Here is my acronym for the word relationship.
- Relax: Be the true you.
- Excite: Know what you are offering your clients and be excited about your service
- Love: Love what you do. Bring passion for your work to your prospects and your clients.
- Answers: Provide answers for your prospects and clients most urgent needs.
- Talent: Showcase your talent. I have a talent for creativity and admin. I use this introduction to describe my business. I take a little bit of creative genius and mix it with a bunch of administrative awesomeness to find solutions designed to take your business from ordinary to extraordinary.
- Invite: Invite your prospects and clients to experience your service. Do this through regular communication with them. Have a blog or e-zine that showcases your relationship marketing skills.
- Own: Own your space. Be confident in your skills and services. Play up your strengths.
- Now: Even though we are building a relationship with our prospects and clients we have to ask for the sale. Show them the value of what you are offering.
- Solve: Solve their pain point. Make sure you understand your prospects and clients needs and solve it for them.
- Help: This is the part I love most about the work I do. Helping others. Helping them to find the perfect solution. Helping them narrow down the angst and giving them relief from overwork and overwhelm.
- Inspire: Inspire your prospects and clients. Do they have big dream that you know you can help them achieve? Inspire them to be believe in their dreams. Be their dream catcher.
Partner: Partner with your clients. Share the load and help them achieve their goals.
Aspect 2 of Relationship Marketing
Cultivate the Know, Like and Trust factor. You are building on Aspect 1 of Relationship Marketing which is building relationships. You have excellent content and material but you are not quite there.
Rather than reinvent the wheel I am going to point to a trusted source of information. Copyblogger has an excellent resource by Georgina El Morshdy, called 30 Ways to Build the Know, Like, and Trust Factor. This resource includes:
- 10 ways to get known online
- 10 actions to build likability online
- 10 factors that build trust with your audience
My favorite of each section is:
- Assert expertise in your niche. I am currently doing this by positioning myself as World-class Executive Assistant, The Chaos Whisperer. My branding reflects this tagline so recognition with will be instant.
- Initiate a two-way conversation. I love having conversations through social media. When I post I love to hear your comments and reactions.
- Incorporate testimonials. LinkedIn is an excellent way to showcase recommendations and have testimonials on the home page of my website.
Aspect 3 of Relationship Marketing
Do all business with fairness and integrity.
I have done courses like Franklin Covey’s OnDemand Courses, Michael Hyatt’s Executive Assistant and others. Part of my coursework was developing my values for my business. Fairness and integrity are the two top values I list.
Your prospects and clients have to be able to trust that they will be dealt with in fairness and that you operate your business with integrity. Fairness means being free from bias or injustice; being evenhanded in your dealings. Integrity is an adherence to moral and ethical principles; honesty.
What you think? Do you have what it takes to implement relationship marketing in your business?
Refocus: You need to build relationships with your prospects and clients; cultivate the know, like and trust factor and assure your clients that you will deal with them fairly and honestly.