I’ve incorporated something called “relationship marketing” into my business since the very beginning, and now many people are doing the same thing. The idea behind this is that it focuses on client and prospect loyalty and long-term engagement rather than shorter-term goals like customer acquisition and individual sales.
A couple of years ago I was having a phone conversation with legendary marketer Marlon Sanders when I mentioned that I had just got off the phone with one of my new customers.
“Stop the presses!” he exclaimed, just loudly enough to make me jump out of my chair while halfway across the country.
Marlon could not believe that I took people offline to connect with them at various points during our relationship. He insisted on knowing more, so I spent the next two hours sharing what was working for me and answering each of his questions in great detail.
I knew that Marlon did this as well. Years ago I had purchased something from him and had difficulty with downloading the file. When I put in a support ticket I was pleasantly surprised to hear from him personally on the phone. He still does that to this day from time to time.
I shared my thoughts on why reaching out to a prospect, new customer, or to an ongoing client by picking up the phone or scheduling a call with them is such as excellent idea.
First, just about no one else is doing this. Second, when you are speaking directly with someone in this way you quickly establish a relationship with them that is unlike anything you can do through emails or even small group calls or webinars. It’s even better than meeting them in person at a live workshop or conference in that you do not have the distraction of the crowd and the event.
Finally, speaking with them on the phone allows you to control the situation and truly listen to what the other person is telling you. Many times I will make them an offer that I wouldn’t have otherwise because now I know more about their situation and what they need.
Marlon asked me how long these calls typically lasted, and if I followed up with people in the future. I told him that the calls were best when limited to thirty minutes. That way we both stayed on topic and took the conversation seriously. And yes, I do follow up with people by email several days or a week later.
Then Marlon asked me if I had a specific funnel or path I would encourage someone to follow. My answer was no, because one size will never fit all. Each person’s goals and needs are different, depending upon a variety of variables. For example, someone could be brand new to online marketing and need more basic and general online marketing training. Or someone could be working on a book and need my Write — Publish — Prosper training program to help them finish writing the book so they could begin marketing and selling it to their target audience.
That day Marlon and I had one of our most productive conversations ever. We discussed the sales process, what’s new in online marketing, and how we could best support each other in the coming year. Then we got back on the topic of relationship marketing and why it is more important than just about anything else.
After that call my head hurt from so much thinking and analyzing, but it was a satisfying pain.
I’m Connie Ragen Green, an Online Marketing Strategist, bestselling author, and international speaker. Let’s connect to find out how we may work together in the future.