Relationship Marketing

Relationship Marketing

Developing a Business Relationship is Just Like Dating

Everyone in business is looking to build more business relationships with people who can give them more projects, contracts, work and buy products. It’s what makes the business world tick.

You already have business relationships that give you repeat business and they tell other people about you, but this is not enough to grow the business, you are looking for more.

You know when you get in front of a new customer you can normally do business with them, your problem is getting in front of them in the first instance.

Lets Go Dating

If we can reframe the problem into a situation we all know very well, this may help us understand the process better.

We have all had experience in meeting people and developing personal relationships.  How did we do that?

Before we enter into a relationship we normally know what type of person we like. Body shape, hair colour, features, values, personality, similar interests, hobbies etc.

We then went to places where we might meet people. Night clubs, social events, sports events and in todays society dating sites.

Dating sites are interesting because you submit your profile and look for people with similar profiles in terms of values and interests.

If you like the person you have found you give them a wink or a like. They then see that you have winked and will check out your profile. If they like what they see you then begin to chat.

Once you get to know the person a little by chatting, you may then arrange a date and then bingo a new relationship and maybe a marriage.

Just so you know, I have been happily married for over 30 years and did my dating the traditional way. We actually met on an 18/30 holiday. The same principal though, we both went on holiday and hung out in places young people hung out at, in our case a disco. We had a chat, I told a dirty joke that made her laugh, and we got on like a house on fire. We came from similar backgrounds, had the same values, got engaged on Holiday (I know) and got married exactly on the same day we got engaged twelve months later.

Marketing Objectives

In business we know who our target audience is, their sector, their job title, interests, reading habits, what they buy from us, why they buy from us etc. Or you should know this otherwise you are going to be kissing a lot of frogs and wasting a lot of time and money.

We know where they hang out – Industry networking groups, Industry Institutes, Industry associations, LinkedIn groups, Twitter and many more social networks.

The problem is we are normally too busy to hang out at networking events and lots of people who attend just sell to us. We are too busy to get involved in institutes and associations so we go for the least line of resistance and connect with people on social media thinking, everyone does it, so it must work.

It seems the whole world is connected – but no one engages.

When was the last time you connected to someone and when was the last time you engaged. I bet you connected a few days ago and very, very rarely engage. WHY?

You are connecting with people that you know match your profile, because you have checked them out.  You know what they are interested in, as you have done your research, but you fail to give them a wink or like, so they don’t know you want to know them.

What is going on in your head?

I don’t know what to say, They may not like me, I may look like a fool, I don’t want to bother them, I will do it another day, I don’t know how to start the conversation?

What made you go up to that Girl or Boy and ask them for a dance? What was your driver? If you fancied them that much, you would just do it, you wouldn’t care if you made a fool of yourself, you were motivated by lust, another word for want.

Failing that you may have asked a friend to be the matchmaker. There is nothing wrong in that.  We call it a referral in business.

Lets think of LinkedIn as a dating site. You have your profile and your target audience has theirs. You can find them and they can find you by using key words in advanced search. Make sure your profile looks and feels brilliant and it’s set up to attract your target audience. Make it easy for them to find you, use the correct key words.

So how do you get chatting?

Be human. Fully research their profile, their business website and find out what they are interested in.

Whatever you do next, do not sell to them, this is the last thing you want to do. How does it feel for you to receive a message that is just trying to sell you something?  Infuriating isn’t it. So don’t do it, it’s not the way to build a relationship. It’s a bit like going up to a girl or boy and saying “do you fancy a quickie”. You will only get a slap. With a message you will get a DELETE.

A better way would be to give some value. For example I may do some research on their website or linkedIn profile and give them some hints and tips on how they can improve their marketing message to get improved results. This costs me nothing and they get some value. Or I may complement them on an achievement or the quality of their business, or just some feed back.

How does it make you feel when you get some feed back from an article, blog or website. It feels good doesn’t it? Keep the conversation going, be human, tell a joke or direct them to some common interest web content. Your mission is to help and support them for a while. If it begins to work, you can then invite them for a coffee or a meeting.

Any relationship takes time and effort to build. There is no quick fix and you have to invest your time or your money by asking a specialist social media marketer to do it for you. It is the only way.

Lets make it simple with some steps for you to follow

LinkedIn

Step 1 – Create your LinkedIn profile so it becomes attractive. Make sure you show your target audience the benefits of working with you. A way to think about this is to come up with a list of things you leave them with when you have finished your work and they have paid you. This is what the customer is buying from you. The benefits.

Step 2 – Search for customers that meet your ideal customer profile. Connect with them. They will connect with you if your profile looks and feels right for them. It has to be a good fit. It’s like dating.

Step 3 – As soon as they connect with you, return a note with a complement or some other high value-giving message. Ask questions in order to get a response and engagement.

Step 4 – Keep the conversation going until you think you can ask for a quick telephone chat. Build more value during the chat. Ask questions to find out their needs and pain. Continue to support them. DO NOT SELL – But sell a meeting. Your objective is to get face to face with them. Say something like. “If I could show you a way to achieve your objectives would you have a coffee with me?

Step 5 – Have your meeting. Ask more need analysis questions and give options. Try and get them to buy from you rather than you selling to them. At the end of the day you are helping them achieve their objectives by delivering a solution to their problem. This is called consultative selling.

Twitter

This example assumes you want to connect to a high flyer in a large organisation.

Step 1 – Create your profile in the same way as your LinkedIn one but you have to do it far less words.

Step 2 – Connect to the company twitter accounts you want to do business with. Create lists within your account so you can monitor them easily and without confusion of other accounts getting in the way.

Step 3 – Engage with the social media marketer. Large companies will be using their marketing departments for communications. Build your relationship with them. Communicate using direct messaging. Ask them who would be the best person to speak to with regards to your service or product. Ask for a referral or introduction. Check this person out on LinkedIn, and then follow the process above. If you get the introduction follow your sales process.

Engagement and building a relationship on trust and credibility is the key to getting more appointments with the people who can help give you work and grow your business.

Back to dating – You don’t jump into the sack with a person within 10 minutes of meeting them – you court them, get to know them, build trust and credibility and then if the fit is right BOOM. It is exactly the same in business.

The formula is:

Step 1 – Visibility – Be seen and engage with people

Step 2 – Build trust and credibility. This then leads onto

Step 3 – New business

Feel free to give me some feed back. I like it too.

Author

Bob Evans - Your Ideal Business PartnerArticle by Bob Evans from Your Ideal Business Partner. Currently a Business Accelerator Growth Coach at Winning Pitch. Bob is working with businesses from the construction sector and creative sector. Bob is achieving this by lean leadership, strategic marketing, sales planning and then executing the plans from chairing board meetings. Bob has been a successful business growth coach from 2005 and has taken business owners from employing two people to forty. Improving turnover in excess of 300% within a single year in some cases. LinkedIn 

Networking

5 Steps to More Effective Networking

Could You Improve Your Networking Skills?

In this time of difficult market conditions more than ever businesses are turning to networking as a source of business development.  Armed with business cards, company information and some well-scripted patter, individuals set off to networking events, conferences and all manner of gatherings with high hopes and ready to ply their wares, only to become disillusioned when reality doesn’t turn out to be the immediate upturn in sales they had expected.

Before planning your next foray consider a different approach.

 

1. What you can do for others?

Start by mentally preparing yourself to look hard for ways of helping the people you meet – to many this may sound wrong-headed, “surely my primary objective is to find new business, not help other people?” Think again:  In order that others might help you, help them first – understand what issues they are currently struggling with, listen carefully and by using your own experience and knowledge or by providing contacts, help them to achieve their objectives. In this way, you will start to build a relationship, which in the fullness of time, you will be able to draw upon, but at this stage it’s not what you can do for me, it’s what I can do for you.

 

2. Be Genuine

By networking you are embarking on relationships, not one-off interactions. Be yourself – people will know if you portray yourself as someone other than who you really are, not only is this difficult to maintain, it will cause others to shy away from you. Be open and honest. Don’t be afraid to show yourself as vulnerable – this can actually help to build sustainable relationships, having some level of dependence builds trust, which is essential for any productive relationship.

Being genuine includes being genuinely interested in others and actively looking for ways to help them.

 

3. Be distinctive

You want to be remembered, so communicate clearly and as an individual. Your message/offering should be simple to understand, specific and memorable – consider what makes you different and the pressures or needs your offering can ease. Think not “I sell world-class software”, but rather think about what are the problems you are solving for your prospective clients and put this into language, which paints a picture of how much better life could be for them. Listen first and tailor your message to the recipient.

 

4. Timing

Don’t start networking when you need it to start working for you, start before you need it. Networking is not a quick fix to a short-term gap in sales, it is a long term habit, which should become daily habit. As per point 1, you must first pay forward and plant seeds that will come up in time, but don’t expect instant results.

 

5. Network everywhere

Networking should not be confined to specific networking events; make it part of your normal everyday life – on the train, waiting for your next appointment, at the school gates – wherever you find yourself. By being genuinely interested in other people and engaging with them at every opportunity you will become increasingly relaxed in your interactions and your network will naturally expand, providing a whole problem-solving web.

 

By adopting this mindset not only are you likely to find networking more effective, you will also find it considerably less stressful.

By Fran McArthur – Your Ideal Business Partner

 

 

Moo, Bark, Quack or Tweet

This is about creative content and moving away from one message fits all, to communicating to a target audience with a message that they are interested in and understand.

So if you moo and your audience consists of cows, dogs, ducks and chicks, only the cows will understand you and may show interest if your communication is compelling.

The lesson is Moo to cows, bark at dogs, quack at ducks and tweet to chicks.

Action Points

1. Build lists of target audience groups – Its best if you use a CRM system such as SalesForce or the like

2. Write creative copy to each audience – Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and write about things they are interested in. Cows eat grass, tell them about grass.

3. Transmit your message through your communication channels – This can be e-mail, twitter, linked in, facebook, articles, website, word of mouth.

4. Measure the results – Use you web site and CRM stats. (CRM Customer Relationship Management System) – SalesForce, ACT or similar.

I use SalesForce as my primary tool as it includes all the processes you need to execute this strategy and it’s cloud based so I can access it any where. The other resource you need is a brain to write the creative copy, some people can, some people can’t, if you are the latter get help, it’s quicker and more effective. A good writer is worth his/her weight in gold and in todays market essential.

What to do next

Write a comment, ask a question or just do it, the next time you want to generate some leads.

I hope you found this amusing and learnt something.

PS if you need some help writing my email address is below.

bob.evans@yibp.co.uk

Marketing Strategy

Do You Have a Marketing Strategy?

Every business engages in some form of marketing.  But we are constantly surprised by the amount of  business owners who admit to us that they have no marketing plan at all.  Without a plan it is impossible to market effectively—and you could be leaving huge amounts of money on the table.  Your marketing plan does not have to be fifty pages long—but it does have to contain certain elements.  Below are the basics of a good marketing plan:

Mission.  What are you trying to accomplish with your marketing efforts?  Are you trying to sell products and services?  Build brand awareness?  Improve the image of your business through public relations?  Your mission defines your goals—without a clearly stated mission, there is no purpose to your activities.

Objectives.  These are specific goals to be accomplished in the short term (i.e. one year).  If your mission is to sell more products, your objective could be to increase sales by 30% in the next twelve months.  

Target Market.  Who is your ideal customer?  Identifying your target market allows you to stop wasting time and money marketing to people who are unlikely to purchase your products.  The nature of your target market will go a long way towards determining the nature of your marketing campaigns.  If your target market is B to C, for instance, a social media campaign may not make the most sense.

Message.  What will you tell your target market in order to accomplish your mission?  If the mission is to drive sales, you will probably highlight the benefits of your products, as well as what makes them different from everyone else’s.  It’s critical to identify your points of differentiation at this stage in the marketing plan.

Strategy.  How will you reach your target market?  What resources will be required?

Tactics.  Specifically how will you execute your strategy?  Will it be a web-based campaign, direct mail campaign, radio & TV campaign, or something else?  Do you have the necessary resources to execute the strategy?  If not, how will you acquire them?

Action Plan.  Who is responsible for each element of this marketing strategy?  What is the timeline?  What has to happen to turn the plan into a reality?

Tracking.  This is an area where many business owners slip up.  It is crucial that you track the results of each marketing campaign to determine your Return On Investment (ROI).  This number will allow you to easily see which campaigns are most effective—allowing you to allocate resources accordingly.

Every business needs a marketing plan.  Without it, you have no chance of efficiently reaching your target market.  The good news is that a basic marketing plan can be created within a couple of hours.  The elements I have discussed above are the basics to a good plan—but if you would like additional guidance please feel free to get in touch with us today!

Bob Evans
Your Ideal Business Partner