Building Relationships

This business is all about relationships.  It is easy to get caught up in the selling of your product to forget that most business thrives off of trust, knowledge, and friendship.  People buy from people they trust.  And for people to trust you they have to have a relationship with you.  So, here is my guide on helping you build relationships without feeling like you are forcing things.

Offline Approach

In an ever increasingly social world it is easy to forget about the mundane things that build relationships but I want to touch on a few things that seem antiquated but make BIG impact on customers.

  • Thank you cards.  Having some kind of system for sending out thank yous to your customers in a one on one way makes huge impact.  I like to do post cards where after a customer orders they get a thank you for ordering and then 3 months of samples afterward in the mail.  I like postcards because it’s cost effective while still showing appreciation.  While my postcards are all preprinted they each have a handwritten note on the back that as I get to know people become more and more personal.
  • Texting. Send out personalized texts asking how they’re enjoying an order, follow up on a previous conversation, or just ask people how they’re doing.  In an age where there are more and more direct marketers vying for our time online it is unusual for someone to just ask us how we are without using it as a segue into a sales pitch.  Be genuine and caring.  We’ll talk later about personality marketing and attracting people who make all this easy because they’ll become friends.
  • Build a name for yourself if your community.  Volunteer, donate, give of your time and energies when you can.  While I build a big majority of my business online, a surprising number of those customers are local.  The more I am known in the community as a person and let my values and beliefs show themselves locally the more I will appeal to locals on a business level.

Now, don’t take these suggestions as just marketing technique.  While they are, they also have to be used in authentic and consistent ways to make an impact.  If you really don’t care about your customers and are just thinking about money it will become apparent and they will move on.  Life and business are people oriented.

Online Approaches

  • VIP Group: have a group where you can ask your customers to join that gives you a place to share who you are and ask them to share who they are.  Through engagement posts and games you can get to know people, recognize them, and build those friendships.
  • Personal Timeline: On Facebook you can create custom lists of your friends.  This makes it easy to have all your customers that are your friends in one place that you can customize your timeline.  This allows you to only see their posts, when the list is engaged, so you can spend time commenting and interacting with your customers.  This is a great way to build relationships with them.  Who doesn’t love getting likes and comments on their posts.  Plus it helps you know where you have common interests, issues, and hobbies.

With being online you have to decide how you want to run your social media accounts.  Meaning, will your customers be integrated into your personal timelines or will you keep things separate.  I personally like being friends with my customers because of the ease of relationship building but there can be drawbacks.  Stay tuned for future posts on Personal Censorship and Facebook Marketing Strategy to learn more.


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