"Relationship marketing is a strategy designed to foster customer loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement. It is designed to develop strong connections with customers and strong emotions within customers by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests and by promoting open communication." Basically it’s the act of being knowledgeable and helpful with sharing that knowledge  - and doing it consistently. It’s also about impressing upon their emotions by selling your product or service in a way that causes them to see the “why”.

Simon Sinek pointed out how Apple did this brilliantly as opposed to PC years ago when they were really ramping up their competition efforts. Apple sold people using emotion – WHY you need their product….showing you how it will enhance your life, connect you with more important relationships, and make you happier. PC, however, focused their ads on how cool their stuff was. It didn’t work, and still today Apple is ahead of the game in almost every piece of tech. But it all started with an emotional pull.

More and more, your customer base is researching online before they ever call you, so they don’t really need to know as much about you on paper….but they DO need a friendly connection in order to seal the deal and keep them from your competition.

The more you share your knowledge in a friendly and helpful way, the more emotional pull you have. Think about it – if you sell wedding dresses and you compete with another shop with an equal stock and equally accessible location, what will set you apart? Your friendliness or lack thereof! If you have any online presence at all, (and I hope you do) your potential customer will call you already knowing a lot about wedding dresses in general and a lot about what you offer specifically. What she may not know has a lot to do with things you know from experience. She calls and says “I’m thinking of stopping by to look at dresses, are Saturdays usually really busy, there?” If you answer “yeah…we’re pretty busy on Saturdays”, you may have given her a truthful answer, but that tone of voice and short, nonhelpful answer just killed your chances of her shopping with you. BUT, if you change it to “Well, Saturdays can be busy around here, but if you want to set an appointment, I can make sure one of our experts will be available to help! Where will your wedding be?” Let’s say she says in Rocky Mountain National Park. You might say “Oh, perfect! When you stop by, I can give you a list of favorite places brides have told me they loved to take wedding photos, if you’d like.” Now, that’s just a spitball example, but you get the idea. If you’re trying to be helpful just for the sake of being kind and friendly, it will inspire a bride to come to you first giving you the chance to sell to her first.

 It works the same with almost every other industry as well. In video production, for instance, I can garner more business simply by showing a potential client how to do basic video or computer things. I genuinely DO want to help, and it shows. Several clients have hired us over other competent video professionals, simply because we did our best to help them or their business associate, without asking anything in return. It helps if you’re helpful and friendly without an ulterior motive, but if helpful and outgoing is not your usual mode, you might need to fake it before it becomes habit, or find an employee or partner to handle customer service for you.

 Now…HOW do you implement this marketing strategy into your typical workday? It’s totally doable, so we’ll be diving into those tips on my FB live. Join me in the discussion! www.facebook.com/mountainharvestmedia