What sort of relationship are you looking for?

The word relationships is ubiquitous in the current era of marketing – way up their with words like engagement and arghhh where are the budgets going!

I wonder if we are degrading what the word relationship means by over using it and using it for easily achieved objectives i.e. a like here, a RT there or a follower here and there. There is no doubt all great businesses have a relationship with their customers, but at what level? And will having a more informal one help matters at all?

Often new business people talk about starting a relationship with a prospect? Often cited as we got on well and we talked for longer than expected and found some common ground on sport. That’s fine I guess.  And is that what your business needs in terms of a relationship early doors? Many a time I have heard new business folks that have loads of ‘things’ cooking but when push comes to shove nothing happens i.e. they don’t buy anything.

What will a prospect be looking for is probably a good bet to go about answering this. People tend to buy from those they trust and like. And probably in that order.  But even before that they need to be sure that you are able to solve their problem and in a way that works for them. And so that is what you need to be able to establish too.  What exactly is their problem and why can’t they fix it with what they already have. If they can fix it by not changing they will.  If they can find a work around for their problem they are likely to avoid the upheaval of any change. The change being you getting paid to sort it out.

If you are going to be working alongside them they have to be sure that you will have the answers when the time come and will not be putting their whole way of working at risk? Ever worked with a supplier who although had a great product, some of your colleagues found it hard to work with? Or other departments thought you were crazy to hire them? And so sabotage sets in, as you are the fly in the ointment!  We have all done it?  It’s not great, but is it worse than hiring a business that does not deliver the results you expected or were promised? Well, you will be hard pushed to have a proper relationship without both, it’s simply not an ‘or’ thing it’s an ‘and’ thing.

What is important to prospects is not just you act with integrity but that you also are realistic about what you can or cannot achieve for them.  Being realistic and truthful helps develop trust and will separate you for the blatant over promises and the blaggers.  That trust and integrity is a better building block of a relationship than making common ground on everyday topics.


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