This morning, I heard an advertisement for a great service. It’s something that lots of people need. It lends itself well to relationship marketing. But their dedication to service and their relationship with their customers was overshadowed by their closing words of desperation.
“We want your business.”
I winced on their behalf. Even the tone of voice sounded like Oliver asking for another bowl of porridge.
Yes, it’s important to let people know you want their business. And it’s fine to ask for it. But there’s a better way.
The accepted truth these days is that everybody in cyber-space wants your business. That’s the nature of the beast. Asking for it is therefore redundant.
Honestly, when’s the last time you heard a radio advertisement asking you to allow them to give you something completely free. No hint of side sales pressure, no upsells, no subscriptions?
Bet it’s been a while.
The good news is, there’s a simple fix to the desperation-style sales approach. It’s always been around, but the internet certainly makes it much easier.
A Better Way
You can find this referred to in many ways. One of the most popular terms is relationship marketing.
The idea behind it is that you spend most your efforts on building real relationships with your potential customers. You do this by doing the things a friend would do.
Think about the things you do with your friends. You probably do fun things together. Maybe you talk about some of your personal experiences.
Because you’re an expert, you might also provide them with free advice or resources to help them with something they’re struggling with related to what you do.
Between meetings, you might pass along helpful information you think an acquaintance might need simply because you thought of them.
Now, you’re obviously not going to sit down with your new contact and start telling him about little Johnny’s surgery last month.
You’re certainly not going to complain about the new challenges introduced into your schedule.
But you might help that person understand why a decision they’re about to make is the right or wrong choice for their situation.
If and when they have need of something you do professionally, you’ll be the person they’ll call.
After all, they already know you, they like you, and they trust that you will have their best interests at heart.
Okay, that’s easy enough to understand when the person is sitting across the table from you, but how do you handle this long-distance, or when you don’t have time to talk with everyone one-on-one?
Translating Relationship Marketing to the Bigger Market
Over the radio or the internet, any attempt to sound like a caring next-door neighbor will fall flat.
Having never set eyes on each other, the simple idea that you care deeply about every stranger who happens to hear your spot is slightly unbelievable.
Maybe you have a better approach to welcoming new customers to your location.
Or you may have perfected a quick and easy system to customize your service to each client’s unique needs.
“We dedicate ourselves to helping you find solutions.”
“Let us help you make the best choice for you.”
These are all helpful and customer-centered keyphrases you can offer in your 30-seconds. They might encourage a potential customer to reach out to you.
The problem with them is, on their own, they sound like just more of the same. I mean, there’s only so many words you can use to convey these ideas.
How are you supposed to stand out in a world where everyone is saying the same thing?
Actually, the secret is in the how. How do you deliver on those promises you’re making?
More importantly, how can people trust you are interested in a relationship with them rather than just taking their money?
It is a bit difficult in the short span of a 30-second (or shorter) audio clip.
You’ll be glad to know there is a solution!
Scale Relationship Marketing with a Book
If your little audio clip is building off the greater story your brand is telling, you are automatically tying your listener to something bigger, something they may already be familiar with.
You probably already know the importance of spreading your message across multiple platforms. It’s just good marketing practice.
You don’t run a single ad in a single magazine to announce a new launch.
Hopefully, you also don’t limit yourself to print ads without also adding a mix of online options selected because of a shared demographic.
The mix of messages can include print, digital, text, audio, video, imagery, blog posts, memes, and even conversations people have with your representatives – sales and marketing teams, other employees.
As you may have already experienced, keeping all these channels consistent can be a challenge.
However, to maximize its effectiveness, relationship marketing depends on a consistent, authentic brand identity.
The best way to stick to that consistent message is to have your story told in full somewhere. And the best way to do that is to write your business book.
With a business book, your customers, partners, employees, and prospects have a chance to get to know you and your philosophy at their leisure.
Even better, it’s simultaneously available to tell your story to thousands of people even when you aren’t.
Since it’s a book, it’s always their choice whether they want to learn more, so it isn’t pushy.
With your story written out, you have an available resource to pull from or refer to whenever you’re stymied for content.
Think of your book as your introduction and invitation.
After you’ve told them what you do, the conversation ceases to be about you anymore. Now it’s time to learn about them. Your calls to action are based on service rather than purchase.
Have you ever thought about writing a book for your business? If you have, what’s been holding you back?