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Relationship Marketing Tips To Build Your Bottom Line

By Terry L. Brock

Wanna get more business? Of course we all do. But the old ways of doing it have changed. That means we have to change to survive in a new culture and new world. Today’s marketing that works is oriented towards building strong relationships that are mutually beneficial. The old ways of tricks and techniques went out with the derby hat and cigar-smoking used car salesman. Ugh! Good riddance!

Effective marketing today calls for building solid, long-term relationships. This Relationship Marketing is critical for long-term business that is more relationally based than transactional.

Seth Godin’s new book about Tribes is a good example of how people want to be part of a special community. That could be those who go to a special place, buy a special product or follow a special leader. Think about Harley-Davidson bike riders who meet in Daytona Beach for their annual pilgrimage. Think about iPod owners who continually say how the Love (important word!) their iPods. Think about those who follow a rock band, a teacher or even a political figure. We all want to be part of a special group — a tribe — where we feel we belong and our special needs are met.

This is not about slick tactics. Recently I heard a speaker who demonstrated the exact wrong way to build relationships. He said he could help you get past the doorkeeper and get in to see the buyer. This speaker talked about several tactics which struck me as deceptive, conniving and even down-right dishonest.  Maybe this would work temporarily in some situations but it sure doesn’t work to build solid, long-term relationships.

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This is using tactics and tricks to deceive the customer. That is not what relationship marketing is about. Relationship Marketing is about sincerely listening to the needs of the prospect and customer and being there in a helpful way.  You don’t become a trusted adviser by having a bag of tricks and slick maneuvers to deceive the prospect into meeting with you.

Think of it like farming — Relationship Farming. You build solid relationships over time helping to produce a bountiful harvest for both parties.

Here are 5 specific ways you can work to build those relationships:

1. Find a way to give them value (as defined by them) at low or no cost to you. This is where you have to be creative.  Perhaps offering some advice on what is happening in the industry would help.  Find ways to build their business with suggestions.  Be creative.

2.  Create a Special Audio CD.  This is a special way to say hello to them.  Instead of just another voice mail message or phone call, let them hear you, in your voice, thanking them for their business.  Share ideas on how they could grow their own business.  This audio CD is nothing fancy, in fact, the more they realize that you really did it yourself, the more it will mean to them.  Save it to your computer and burn it to an audio CD.  If you don’t know how to do that, hire a local high school kid to help!

3.  Become a recognized and respect expert in the field. If someone respects and honors you, they will gladly take your call.  Work hard to become that respected go to person in your industry.  Pay the price by learning new skills and forging essential relationships at trade shows, association meetings and value-for-value network connecting.

4. Create Educational Value. Create a video or audio for the office on how they can solve a particular problem where they need help and you have ideas.  Share this with the office. Don’t sell your stuff on this one. Give value. This can be a nice Holiday present that gets around any rules about No gifts over $25 or policies like that.

5. Be Personal. Come up with something very personal that shows you care about them and their business.  Yes, you have to do your research.  But, this is what will separate you from the competition.

And here’s one additional idea — Bonus for you:  Become a trusted adviser to them by looking out for their needs.  Be the one who supplies their needs.  Always be on the lookout for articles, ideas and even photos which can help them. Even better bonus idea: Come up with a regular stream of ideas that you share with them which are incredibly valuable to them. They will want to listen to you. They will anticipate hearing from you regularly.

And hey, they will then take your calls because you’re not just another pushy salesperson.  You can save time not having to learn all the get through the gatekeeper deception tricks!

Success today is not about using the latest, slickest tricks to break through into the office and make them take your call.  It’s about honest-to-goodness caring and empathy with their needs.  This attitude of genuine caring works in any economy.

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology.  He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

19 Responses

  1. Carl Nuson

    Finally, someone who’s willing to admit that the old sales ways are basically dead. I think #3 is really the one that sticks out for me — but in the old days, a company would display confidence via acting as though they didn’t need your business. Now, the confidence translates into partnerships — I know what I’m doing, you know what you’re doing, so how can we work best together? I think the most effective sales pitches have that sort of tenor. And also professionalism can be a great draw — having stuff like a clean, functional website or an advanced 800 through gotvmail may seem like minor stuff or no-brainers, but you’d be surprised how reluctant folks are to return phone calls if your voicemail sucks or your website’s broken. As I tell my students, act like an industry leader and you’ll be an industry leader!

  2. Terry

    Thank you for saying that Carl. You are absolutely right. The old way was an “us vs. them” mentality. We still hear remnants of it today. The best way, and the more humane way to interact, is for two equals to approach each other and find agreement and mutual understanding. This is what R-Commerce is all about. Thank you for your comment! Terry

  3. Great job as usual Terry! I really like the idea about becoming a trusted advisor by providing people with information and ideas that can help them – sort of like what YOU do! Thanks for keeping us inspired and on top of our game!

  4. Terry, I agree fully about long term relationships. Here’s how I like to think of the old sales approach versus the new one.

    Old way: We PUSHED the prospect’s door open, maybe even intruding at the most unwelcomed time. Our key words: aggression, multiple contacts, perfecting our pitch, logic, facts, statistics, charts.

    New way: We attract, interest, and excite others so much that they PULL our door open, eager to work with us. Now our key words are: relationship, friendship, trust, credibility, expertise, value-packed, genuine emotion.

    As for your coaching program: In these tough economic times, all of us wonder what might be a wise investment, one that really brings visible, long range returns, with little risk. Truly, Terry, your coaching program is the finest professional investment I have made. Every day, I rely on what you have taught me, and continue to teach me. Thanks for this solid, sound program.

    And thanks for another inspiring, educational video.

  5. Dear Terry, once again, your message rings true. Australia is on the verge of recession & many of my clients are pulling back on copywriting. Yet my oldest client, the one with whom I’ve been building a genuine relationship for nearly 7 years, is sending me all the work I need to weather this storm. So you’re dead right in what you say.

    With regard to Seth Godin, I recently discovered his co-invention of Squidoo. I was so impressed to have found an online vehicle for my extracurricular interests that I sent Seth a thank-you email. He actually found the time to write straight back! That impressed the pants off me & now I’m singing his praises.

    So thanks for telling it like it is, Terry. You sure know your stuff & I’m recommending you to my clients with complete confidence. Best regards, P. 🙂

  6. Terry is the pro of pro’s in understanding how to connect with customers in tough times. Always time well spent, thanks for keeping all of us focused on finding greater success Terry! – db

  7. There is a lot to like about this article Terry. And you are right on the money. CDs and DVDs are a great tool in building relationships.

    Did you know that you can take it one step further, think about this…? No one ever knows if any prospect actually reads a brochure. If it is mailed or handed out you just have to wait and see if any one responds.

    But if you use a CD or DVD instead I can tell you that your message was viewed, where it was viewed, how many times, and make it possible to click through to your website. All in REAL TIME. You will know if you message is getting out from the day you drop it in the mail or hand it out. The viewer can click through to your web site without other competitors POPPING up and without a pay per click.

    Really brilliant don’t you think?

  8. Автор, а скажите а куда написать по поводу обмена ссылок (на какое мыло)?

  9. Вообще, откровенно говоря, комментарии тут гораздо интереснейсамих постов. (Не в обиду автору, конечно :))

  10. Я с вами согласен 🙂 Для меня это точно очень актуально 🙂

    1. Terry Brock

      Thanx, Mariette. I appreciate the bookmark. And count me as a fan of Dan Kennedy. I’ve known him from my work with the National Speakers Association. He continues to give lots of good information over and over. What a great guy! Terry

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