How to Invest in Great Relationships
Intuitively, as a successful business leader, you know relationship marketing is both smart AND necessary. I love this quote from Bill Walsh, the legendary copy editor at Washington Post. Bill said: “Invest in great relationships. They will pay a lifetime of dividends.”
When the “world went flat” with internet purchasing, buyers could access any product or service they want with a click of the mouse. And yet, commodity buying is not a satisfying experience. It’s a cold transaction. Increasingly, prominent coaches and thought leaders are compiling compelling evidence that buyers are seeking a sense of personal connection more than any other specific reason to choose your services. Especially in business-to-business commerce.
For strategic purchasing that impacts your company brand and the people you want to influence, it is far more gratifying and assuring to make a purchase that matters with a trusted advisor. I believe professionals want to have a meaningful experience with somebody who sees them as a person versus a sales statistic: and not just any person, but a special person who matters to them. A treasured client whose goals and details need to be optimized with exceptional personal service from concept to delivery.
I invite you to consider these strategies for investing in great relationships so you receive a lifetime of dividends from your employees, customers, and business partners:
Share appreciation and gratitude often. We assume our employees and clients know perfectly well how much we value them. The verb “assume” is where the rub lies. “Assuming” is not a “best business practice.” A better plan is what I learned from my grandmother while she was in hospice, during her last 10 days battling cancer. I watched her thank everyone, for anything they did for her. I don’t know how she had the energy to speak, but she did. The example I witnessed was to say “thank you” with your last breath.
State your shared mission, vision, meaning, and values regularly. Do your customers know clearly, why you do what you do? If so, that sense of connection will outweigh many other factors in their purchase decisions. Clients are loyal supporters of people and businesses they resonate with. The more your tribe understands who you are and what you stand for, the more dedicated they will feel to your business.
John Wooden, a basketball coach who won 10 national championships in his 12-year run, said “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”
Here’s how Southwest Airlines created their brand in the beginning, by being the kind of friends we would all like to have: “We have good relations with air-traffic controllers, which is crucial to our reputation for reliability. We make routine visits to control towers in all the airports we serve. We bring the controllers hamburgers.” [Jody Hoffer Gittel, Investing in Relationships, HBR, June 2001]
Here’s how you can “bring the burgers,” metaphorically speaking.
With holiday messaging just around the corner, I have some time-tested ideas for you based on my experience with relationship investments that pay dividends.
- Perfect for holiday merry-making: An apron in your colors, customized with your greeting or message. An apron can last a lifetime, making it not only practical but strategically memorable.
Shop 18 Assorted Aprons
- A bonus for holiday entertaining: A beautiful, unique cheeseboard or “homegating” serving tray, cleverly engineered to store party utensils as part of the design.
- Here’s a pointer: You can sometimes achieve a lift in open rates if you include an eye-catching recipe. The recipe can be something to cook or your recipe for success as a business serving others. For fun, see the example below.
Our Write Words service provides customized content (and suggestions) for your marketing messages. Let’s bring the burgers and get cooking with your next “thank you” message. Lasting Impressions is your one-stop business partner for marketing strategy, written content, graphic design, promotional products, gift wrap, and ship to home. Let me know if you have an idea, I can take it from there. If you don’t have an idea yet of what you want to do, I will assist you in finding the perfect solution.
To your success,
P.S. Do you have a friend who will appreciate knowing about our promotional products, marketing strategy, and writing services? Kindly let me know how to connect with them.
To view a history of marketing strategy, business best practices, and inspirational idea starters, read our blog.
“Advance Your Brand, Activate Your Employees and Add Customers for Life.”