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My 3 best relationship marketing tips


You’re going to get my 3 best relationship marketing tips, but know this, I’m not that experienced when it comes to networking and small talk. Actually, I feel that I’m terrible talking to people I don’t already know. I feel lost. I feel uncomfortable. I just want to hide under a table, and crawl back out after everyone has left the room.

That’s me.

But, I understand how powerful relationships are. And I am working hard to accomplish something. I want to be comfortable around people. I want people to smile when they see me, and I want them to remember who I am and think of me as someone they like and enjoy to be with. And I want to share what I know.

I want to make a living helping businesses with marketing.

The next time, before I end up going to a conference, a meetup, or just talking to a random person about business – I’ll interview myself. This way I’ll get to know who I am, so that I will connect with the right people. Second, I’ll get into my customerโ€™s shoes. I’ll try to answer the question; why should they hire me? And finally, I’ll prepare my own questions for the customers.

That’s it. That’s my 3 best relationship marketing tips. I’m thinking that interviewing yourself is an exercise that will be very powerful in networking. I believe that the three most important questions to answer, and at the same time, the most difficult questions, are:

But, how will the answers to these questions help me?

First, it will highlight what my key benefits are:

I might answer that I am:

Now it’s time to get to know my ideal customer. Who are they?

When I compare my interview with who my ideal customers are, do they match? If they do, I am on the right track. If they donโ€™t, I believe that I donโ€™t know my ideal customer well enough or I am marketing the wrong product.

I believe that understanding who I am and who my ideal customers are, before I enter an event, or start talking to a person about business is very important in order to know what I am going to focus on. The last step is to prepare my own set of questions for my contacts. This is how I’ll find out whether they are interesting or not. I don’t have to do business with everyone I meet. I believe that we need to be highly selective in the people we choose to do business with. I really do. Here are two interesting questions I might ask people:

The answers will tell me a lot about a person. First it will tell me how they interpret success and finally, it will tell me how they interpret their weaknesses. Like I said, I’m terrible talking to people I don’t already know. I want to hide under a table and crawl back out after every single person has left the room. But, at the same time, I believe that small talk, and networking can’t be that hard. I just need to know what I want in a business relationship and go after it. I shouldn’t settle for just anyone as a client. The reason I am in business is to make a living, but I shouldn’t let that cloud my judgement. I need to understand my goals in order to develop a lasting partnership.

Are you anything like me, or are you comfortable talking to people you don’t know about business, and do you believe in building relationships in order to get new clients?

27 responses to “My 3 best relationship marketing tips”

  1. Lisa says:

    Hi Jens, building relationships with clients is key. I’ve been in sales for many years and I tend to clam up with I’m dealing with more than 1 person at a time for a meeting or presentation. One on one I’m usually very comfortable. But add more people and my shyness comes out unless I’ve known them all a long time. I try to remember they are just like me putting one sock on at a time in the a.m., right? I also try to ask them personal questions about their family or hobbies. It often helps to break the ice.

    • My take away…You are challenging me to come up with a method for dual sock putting on. I’m not sure it is possible, but I definitely want to give it a try.

    • That’s the same with me Lisa. I am comfortable around people I know, but I am quiet when I’m around people who I don’t know. And if I’m around more than one person, I’m usually all quiet ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’ll try to remember what you said about “putting one sock on at a time,” that’s a great tip ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Bill Dorman says:

    First and foremost, smile; it makes you approachable and easy to approach others. Because the ‘what keeps you up at night?’ question has been well played by sales people taught to ask questions, just ask ‘what are your biggest challenges?’ Also, where you do you see yourself in 3 years, and what will that look like if you were successful? Then shut up and let them talk…………..

    Also, don’t be afraid to ask someone ‘if you were in my shoes, what would you do?’

    • Since I like books, the question I like to ask people is, “Who is your favorite dead author?” Many people don’t have a favorite dead author, so they give me a quizzical look, and quickly begin looking for the person with the drink tray.

      Maybe that is why I’m not in sales. The sad thing is, I really DO want to know who ranks number one among all the dead authors.

      • That’s an interesting question Brian. One of my favorite dead author is Tristan Egolf, but there are so many of them, so I really don’t know which one I would pick if I had to pick one. What about you?

    • The one thing I believe that I’m doing right is to smile. But the smile might be a nervous smile, but I’m doing my best not to show that I’m nervous.

      Your tips are golden Bill. Thank you.

      How was your tournament, did you meet Charles Barkley again? ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Ruth Zive says:

    You don’t just want to know your customer Jens. More than ANYTHING – you want to know your customer’s pain points and frustrations. What are they struggling with? What problems can you solve for them? How can you make their lives easier?

    Perhaps the ‘what keeps you up at night’ question would get you to that information, but in my opinion, more than any other relationship building strategy, to the extent that we can authentically address our target client’s pain points and challenges, we are golden!

    • That’s great advice Ruth. I am getting better at connecting with my customers, but I still need to talk to them more than I am doing right now.

      Thank you so much Ruth, I’m going to add your suggestions to my list of things to do.

  4. Adrienne says:

    Well you know this is one of my favorite subjects Jens. I enjoyed the questions you asked though and I agree really with both Bill and Ruth.

    To me all you really need to do is ask them the right questions and they’ll tell you exactly what you need to know. People love to talk about themselves whether they want to admit that or not. They’ll tell you their frustrations and I love Bill’s question โ€˜if you were in my shoes, what would you do?โ€™ Great starting points.

    In all honesty Jens, I don’t see you as shy at all. I know because most of us have never met you in person then we don’t know the real Jens but I bet if we all got in a crowded room and you saw some familiar faces you would be a chatter box. Can’t wait until the time comes.

    Thanks for sharing these with us Jens and hope you’re enjoying your week.


    • I know that this is one of your favorite subjects Adrienne, and it has actually become one of my favorite subjects as well. I understand that this is one of the most powerful parts of marketing, and that if I am going to become successful with my business, or in marketing at all, I need to get better at building relationships (and talk to people in public).

      I don’t have any problems talking to people I already know, but I am not good at starting a conversation with people I haven’t met before. That’s something I need to keep working on. You’ll have to wait to see if I’m a chatter box or not ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Chadrack says:

    Hmm, your 3 best relationship marketing tips? Well, when you described who you are I went there goes, for you simply just described me there and I was expecting some tips that will really put my foot on the floor!

    But, frankly I must say these 3 tips are nothing more than asking me to do just what I fear to do! I’m sure you don’t expect to carry out these 3 exercise and then all will be well. Meeting and talking to people, which you said makes you want to crawl under the table, are never left out the equation because you definitely will need to go out there. Oh, I thought you could just help me with what needs to be done so that I do not meet those people face to face!

    • Hey Chadrack,

      I am sorry that you didn’t find my tips that good, but they’re still my 3 best tips. Like I said, I’m terrible when it comes to speaking to people face to face. I have a lot to learn from people like Bill, Ruth, Josh and Adrienne. I haven’t had a plan when I start speaking with people about my business, now I understand that I really need a plan to be successful. That’s a huge step in the right direction for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Josh says:

    Questions are your friend, especially when they are about the other person. Sometimes the most effective tool I have had for breaking the ice has been talking about something simple like music/sports/movies.

    Once we get going on that I try to gently steer the conversation over towards business to ask some of the questions that Ruth listed. What challenges do you face and what sort of resources do you wish you had access to?

    I don’t always phrase them that way, but you get the sense of what I am shooting at.

    • I have started to ask a lot questions than I used to, and I feel more comfortable around people I don’t already know. But, I still have a long way to go.

      I am also talking about music/sports/movies in order to break the ice. It works great. But I’m still fairly uncomfortable being the one talking ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Tim Bonner says:

    Hey Jens

    I’ve always been in a customer service background so sales isn’t my strong point but I think you’re getting some great tips from Bill, Ruth, Adrienne and Josh there!

    I was always pretty good at speaking to people on the phone but face to face I’d be pretty shy too, hiding under the table with you.

    Certainly though, building relationships is the way to go I’d say. You never know who you can help, who can help you and who will be your next customer!

    • Hey Tim,

      You probably know a lot about building relationships then. I look at customer service as one of the most important jobs in a company, and especially after I read “The Thank You Economy”. Speaking to a lot of people will probably help you a lot when it comes to building relationships, even though you’re used to speaking on the phone. I bet you would crawl up from under the table a lot sooner than me ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jens, I’m like you, I can be shy, especially at conferences. My opening line tends to be asking them if they have come from far away. That gets them talking about where they’re from and breaks the ice quite nicely. But I love your advice and everyone else’s advice on this post. I will have to try some of them out!

    • That’s interesting Carolyn. I had never thought that you were shy at all. I usually don’t have an opening line at all. I’m just there, all quiet, trying to find a way to start the conversation ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Aasma says:

    Really nice points, It’s really important to know about your product or service thoroughly so that you have idea who is your ideal audience. Otherwise you would be wrong every time and waste your money & efforts.

  10. Aayna says:

    A very nice and apt share!!!! Many a times the problem with the marketing strategy is that the marketers lack adequate knowledge about the product and its features, which restricts the scope of marketing. These are great tips for marketing. Thanks for the share.

  11. Felicia says:

    Hi Jens,
    This is certainly an interesting strategy โ€“ asking yourself questions as if role-playing both as you and the customer. It didnโ€™t seem quite clear to me at first, but after reading the bullets you laid out, things became much clearer and itโ€™s well pointed out.

  12. Fatima says:

    You can target the right customer base and initiate relationships with the potential clients only if you know your products well and can tell who would most need your products. Great post.

  13. Eddie Gear says:

    By far some of the best advice I’ve received on relationship marketing. As a matter of fact I’m reading a book called success and relationship is the one of the key ingredients to achieving goals in personal or business life. I believe that when you have a good business relationship you will go a long way.

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