Over and over we have stressed the importance of building relationships before trying to sell anyone what we have to offer. No one wants to meet someone new and hear that whatever we have exactly what they need. Our current customers don’t want a constant barrage of sales proposals about the newest upgrade or “important” new product or service.
Whenever we meet someone new we must build relationships instead of trying to sell the other person whatever we have to offer. We must discover what the other person needs or wants and then assist them in locating the source of whatever they are seeking. We must build long term relationships even when we cannot satisfy the other person’s search. These relationships should be customers, referral sources, or both.
If we have built the relationship correctly, and it has a strong foundation, the other person will be honest, direct, and supportive of us even if they are not our customer. When they are enticed to become the customer of a rival business, they will tell us and share that story with us. This is not to leverage a better deal with us, but to keep us informed of what they are considering. This is a partnership.
Our customers must believe that they can share their thoughts, inclinations, and changing needs with us. They must be able to discuss with us what new products, proposals, and possibilities they have discovered from other sources. These discussions must be non-threatening to both parties; they must be between partners who support each other in business. We must foster these partnerships and ensure that our partners understand them.
These partnerships should provide safe, non-judgmental environments where the partners offer advice to each other without any doubt as to the intention of either member of the relationship. This advice must be available even if it has never been requested, and it should be given with the intent of helping the recipient. We should have a vested interest in the continued success of each other. Without this continued success, the partners cannot remain in business and be able to assist each other.
Even non customers can be referral partners. If someone just doesn’t need whatever we have to offer, they can still be the source of referrals for our business. Through the relationships that we build, we also build a reputation for our business. We become known to our partners as people to whom they are comfortable referring others as potential customers, knowing that those referrals will be treated with honesty, ethics, and integrity.
Do these non-customers ever become customers over time? Of course they do. They see how we operate our business and decide that, since their referrals enjoy our offerings, maybe they should also. Perhaps they discover that they actually have the same need for our products or services. That becomes the best of all worlds, a referral partner who becomes a customer.
Gratitude Marketing means that we build relationships before trying to make a sale. It also means that we care about customer service, before we even meet a prospect, before the sale, and especially after the sale. That mindset will result in more business for us, better relationships, and more success. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.