The Top Excuses NOT to Market:
- I am an experienced professional in my field, not a salesperson!
- I don’t know what to say.
- I get nervous talking to groups of people.
- I feel asking for work is demeaning.
- I don’t have time
- I don’t like ‘selling’
Marketing Means Survival:
Those persons that can sell their ideas and create favorable impressions of their firm are worth more to a firm. Persons with the ability to market/sell are not the first to be cut in tough economic times. Sales ability can be learned, but you must have the desire to change your natural personality and learn new skills.
YOUR DEVELOPMENT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY! Your firm can provide some opportunities for learning, but you have to be good to get to the first client presentation.
Practice in your marketing role play sessions at work; make a convincing presentation to your peers. It is easy to discuss business when you are busy, sound excited about the projects, tell what is unique about the product or service, how you and your firm solved some difficult problems for your clients.
What is Relationship Marketing?
It is a business strategy that proactively builds a preference for an organization. Translated: Doing business with people your consider friends and trusted associates.
The Types of Relationships:
How to Develop Relationships:
Volunteer in (2) organizations outside of your profession
Spend your time doing what you enjoy!
- At each social function you attend, set a goal to meet (2) new people and have a business conversation with them.
- Introduce these people to others; repeat the process to remember the names
- Collect business cards
- Try to make a connection in the conversations about their job, family, or mutual friends
- Follow up when you return to your office
- Send information promised
- YOU HAVE JUST STARTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP MARKETING FOR YOUR CAREER DEVELOPMENT!
- Send your contacts articles or items of interest
- DON”T BURN ANY BRIDGES!
- Keep those people on your list; call them, send them articles, stay in touch.
Your ability to build successful relationships is as important in a successful career as your skills, knowledge, talent and creativity. It’s just like life!
How Do You Keep Relationships?
Simple — be a friend, give rewards, and use the DRIP or sprinkler method. If you want something to grow, you must “water” it as needed, drip after drip. Nurturing relationships is the same methodology. This type of nurturing of your contacts can take many forms.
- Phone people just to check in with them.
- Send handwritten personal thank you notes.
- Inquire about their relationships, family, pets, etc.
- Invite them to an event and introduce them to others.
- Remember special occasions.
- Invite them to be part of your special interest group or sit on a committee with you.
- Send them newsletters or updates on your business activities with a personal note.
- Cut our their picture or an article from the newspaper or other printed media where they are recognized and send them a personal note of congratulations
- Keep track of your contacts and water frequently!
Listen to your relationship contacts, what interests them; connect with them on a personal level. Learn what motivates them and use this information to build your relationship.
What is the Number One Reason People Buy?
They have a need. Anyone can fulfill a need, but what are the criteria that will be used to select an organization to fill their need?
Price? Wrong! They want someone that is trusted to assist them with the evaluation of their options and make a decision. If you have an established relationship, wouldn’t you choose that person to consult with you? Price becomes a distant evaluation point when the client works with someone they like and trust to get them the best value. There is a big difference between price and perceived value.
The key points of this approach are summarized by the Consultative Principles:
- Develop relationships with clients and other potential partners
- Establish trust
- Manage expectations
- Work as a team
- Be knowledgeable about your business and your client’s business
- Do your homework
- Be curious and ask questions
- Share what you know
- Connect your experience to your client’s goals
- Define the problem
- Solve the problem for which you have been hired
- Be a resource
- Follow through
- What is the outcome of doing a good job for any new contact? TRUST.
The first principle mentioned in the Consulting Principles; being trustworthy, is the only thing you have to offer your relationships. Trust in your business and in your personal relationships is vital to success in either. Once you have earned that trust, you must guard it in all you do.
Small Firm, No Money:
- The principal and maybe a marketing coordinator/secretary may be the extent of the “marketing staff” along with the project managers.
- There is no extra money for cooperative advertising, fancy brochures, or sales staff — just the staff’s relationships.
- Each staff member should give the business cards collected to the receptionist or secretary to enter on the contact data base for announcements, newsletters, and for references. .
- Keep this database in an easy to sort format — Excel, Access, and a contact management software like MS Outlook or ACT.
- DON’T TOUCH THE BUSINESS CARDS MORE THAN ONCE!
Some areas for Relationship Development:
- Athletic Teams/Activities
- Lead Exchange Groups
- Community Theater
- Facility Managers
- Real Estate Brokers
- Civic Organizations
- Speaking Engagements
- Special Events
Larger Budgets/Resources for Marketing
Regardless of the size of your budget, a strategic plan to accomplish your goals should be established. Every dollar should enhance your efforts to reach the firm’s goals and business plan.
When you are a larger firm, fundraising and charitable events becomes an easy way to see those contacts that wouldn’t return your calls. They relate now because you are at their event. Maybe someone gave them tickets and they are impressed that you are there!
If your firm does a lot of corporate work, research the charitable organizations board members, and attend an event; offer services to the organization/anything to get to know the people in a personal relationship.
Relationship marketing involves community relationships and branding. Whether representing yourself or your firm while performing community service, you are building relationships and a “brand” of the type person and firm you represent.
Remember that all your competitors are creative and provide basically the same products and services; price is seldom the decision maker. Quality relationships are the difference.
When establishing a relationship, present yourself in a positive and attractive manner. Research shows that people do business with people they find attractive, so the first 8 seconds is very important on the impressions you make on a new acquaintance.
Do you appear neat and professional, relaxed and interested in what the person is discussing, speak with clarity and at a normal rate, and continue eye contact?
I Am Not the Marketing Type Personality!
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicators are a fun and informative way to know your preferences of personality and to assist you in reading your clients’ personalities.
The personality typing is used for building teams, in pre-marriage counseling, hiring by some firms, and many other areas where individual’s natural personality preferences will affect the success of a project or firm. When you know your natural tendencies, you understand how to work on areas that need improvement for you to accomplish your goals. Any personality type can develop relationships!
Examples of the Cognitive Style Inventory are the following:
The details of a thorough Meyers-Briggs personality type and other studies on this subject can be found at the website:
This is not a substitute for an inventory from a qualified practitioner, yet it is a quick way to study personality types, both yours and your potential clients.
In your relationships, you will find that opposites or differences in personalities tend to attract. If there are sparks in a relationship, it can be traced to issues about each person’s personality traits are in conflict. We’re not psychologists, but years of experience have proven this fact correct.