Relationship Marketing Pt.2
My wife Jodi was home on a recent Friday afternoon when the doorbell rang. She answered the door to find an energetic young man who said, “Hi Jodi. We were in your neighborhood and noticed your windows needed to be washed. If you don’t mind, we would like to wash your windows free of charge today. We just want you to know how much we appreciate your business.”
This young man works for a residential window washing service known as Pro Clean. We are a customer. We don’t have a contract or ongoing commitments with this company — Jodi, simply calls them when she needs the windows washed. She has paid for their service about four times per year for the past three years.
Jodi related this story to every person she talked to throughout that weekend. She talked to her sister, two of her friends, her mom and a few other folks that I don’t even know. Everyone she spoke to wanted the contact information for Pro Clean.
Think about what this company just did. For around three hours of free service, they turned a customer into a crusader for their company. They didn’t ask Jodi for any referrals, or to call her friends. They simply decided to show appreciation with three hours of free service, expecting nothing in return. But look what they got back!
What you send out is truly what you get back. This company understands this concept and they implement true relationship marketing.
It’s amazing to me how complicated we make our business lives. We get so caught up with how we are going to protect or promote our business that we forget the fundamental human nature of those we serve. Show your customers you care and they will promote your service. It really is that simple.
Relationship marketing is not just about remembering your clients—it’s about serving them by offering your knowledge and expertise. In today’s social media world, it is simple to reach out and offer your expertise in a free collaborative environment. In fact, it’s this kind of activity that will set your business apart from all the others.
A few years back, I had a candid discussion with a friend who also happens to be my mechanic for my off-road vehicles and snow machines. He is a great guy and an excellent mechanic. He was complaining because so many of his customers would call him and ask advice on how to fix something themselves. I remember him saying, “How do these people expect me to make a living if I spend half my time on the phone telling them how to do it themselves?”
At the time, I suggested that he might want to embrace their requests instead of fight them. He looked at me like I was crazy. It’s understandable. Most of us 40- to 60-year-olds were raised in an environment where you learned a trade, hung your shingle out, and waited for people to call on your service. When they did call, you provided the best service or product possible and hoped for repeat business. You got the word out through the Yellow Pages or an occasional direct-mail or telemarketing campaign.
Those days are long gone. Today, most people use the Internet to find the same products or service you are offering with a myriad of pricing and benefit options that might be better than yours. Because of this, it is more important than ever to create genuine relationships.
You can do this by expressing your gratitude with greeting cards and gifts. You can also provide them with your expertise and help as much as possible. If your customers are now used to going to the Internet for everything, why not be the link they click on? You can do this by writing blogs about your business.
In the case of my mechanic friend, he could write a blog that is a simple FAQ about basic mechanic needs. He could keep this updated, offer it for free, refer those who call him with questions to his website where his popular mechanics FAQ is found. This, my friends, is relationship marketing. It has the same effect as the window washers who randomly drop by and occasionally wash their customers’ windows for free.
There are some great examples of this in the book Youtility, by Jay Baer. The subtitle of his book says it all: “Why smart marketing is about help, not hype.” In this book, Baer teaches people how to inform, not promote.
Metaphorically speaking, I encourage you to think of ways you can “wash your customers windows for free today.” In other words, look for creative ways to show appreciation without expecting anything in return.
Kody Bateman is the Founder and CEO of SendOutCards and best-selling author of Promptings: Your Inner Guide to Making a Difference and MLM Blueprint.