16,784 Keys to Relationship Marketing
Holmes, Sherlock Holmes. Identifying opportunities as well as potentially compatible partners to facilitate those opportunities is a key ingredient in relationship marketing. When beginning work with a new client, bring expertise as well as "fresh eyes" and a viewpoint that isn't hindered by a large ego or affected by the client's office politics.
Each enterprise requires an identification process. Locate the best players. But there is no reason to stop there. When working on a project, it is imperative that you can identify and integrate other clients that can take part in the enterprise. While a project might work fine with the original players, the ability to identify and add clients can make the opportunity more robust and profitable. The idea is to never stop looking for opportunities to enhance the enterprise.
The big bang. It's time to strategize. Strategy plays a role in relationship marketing. If your firm is weak in strategy, it doesn't matter how many contacts you have - you won't know how to use them. Spend time with clients to strategize about their businesses, understanding every aspect.
Included in strategic business designs are competitive analysis and specific execution plans. The thought process goes on to mitigate risks and design a plan that aggregates superior resources, focused on getting the deal done. This strategy development is the foundation for the relationship marketing effort. Without the foundation, there is nothing to work toward. It is one thing to have a large list of one-phone-call-away relationships, but if the marketing firm cannot strategize well enough to build opportunities for those relationships, the business will founder.
Step right up. Everyone's a winner. You must analyze the enterprise and create the "win-win." Always find the ways that all of the business partners in the enterprise can benefit from their participation in your deal. Your ability to communicate those benefits is paramount to effecting enthusiastic and profitable participation.
Increase the relationship marketing firm's value to the clients by bringing new players into a deal. This way, you create a windfall for the new players and increase the enterprise's value for the original players. Because you were able to use relationship marketing to bring the original players together as well as to deliver the added value of the new players, everyone wins - including the relationship marketer who gets the credit for bringing added revenues to the equation.
Nail it. You have used all your skills as a relationship marketer to bring the parties together and energize the deal. Don't slow down. Execute the deal points - make it final. An informal agreement can disintegrate before you know it. Always memorialize the deal and the responsibilities and expectations of the relationships. Then work toward executing the business opportunity.
You want the deals to be successful. And when you, the relationship marketer, can continually push the process forward, you help the project. Don't let the project slow down even after the deal is signed. Leverage the momentum created in the deal process to keep everyone working to implement the project. Stay on top of the relationships.
And the winner is ... It's time to take the credit. It is human nature to try to be humble. "It was no big deal." "Everyone involved made this happen." "I was just in the right place at the right time." You hear these attempts at humility all the time. However, this humility can hurt your relationships and limit future projects.
If you work hard putting people together and making a deal happen, take the credit. You don't have to be a braggart to accomplish this task, but take the credit. Change "It was no big deal" to "It was a difficult deal with many players, but I was able to tie it all together and get it done."
By taking credit for your successes, you reinforce your role as the deal maker to your clients, reminding them of your value. You also position yourself as the key resource when similar projects come up. If you are humble, your low-key approach might be taken literally and the players in the project will forget your key role. Be bold. Take credit. Be proud of your accomplishments.
Use it or lose it. You have worked hard and put the right players together, and your project was a success. Now what? Learn from your successes and identify why projects faltered. Then get out there and make new deals. Don't wait for projects to come to you - keep talking with your clients. Understand their changing environments. Create new business models and opportunities and present them to your clients, even if they aren't asking.
In your presentations, talk about successes on similar projects. Get your clients excited. Once they are ready to move forward, so are you - it's time to identify, strategize, create the win-win, execute, take the credit and come full circle with leveraging your successes.
Now all I need to do is master the other 16,778 key ingredients. Wish me luck.