We Don’t Need More Relationships

Okay, I know that title of this post may seem like a harsh way to make a point, but things have changed a bit.

There was a time when marketing was about creating the message and sales was all about creating relationships – you got to know a prospect, maybe a lunch, then golf and now we can talk business.

But, who has time for that kind of thing anymore. I mean, now we’ve got 25,439 Twitter relationships we have to get to and please, you just left another voice mail?

I’m not saying that human contact and relationship building isn’t essential, I’m saying that things have flipped around to a large extent.

Make a business case first

Today you must prove your value, make a business case for why a prospect should take your call, email or connection request, before you earn the permission to go deeper.

Test this out – did you wake up today with the hope that you would meet a new entrepreneur or salesperson hoping to come tell you about their products. I’m guessing no, but you may have woken up today and thought, “I sure need to figure out how to get more from my marketing efforts,” or something of that sort.

So now you might actually be receptive to an article written by someone that addresses that very subject. And upon reading that article you might start thinking – “I wonder what it would be like if this person consulted with our business?”

Perhaps your next move might be to Google the author of that piece and jump on over to LinkedIn to see what others are saying about her.

You may indeed move to email to invite her to answer a specific question you have and that may very well lead to a meeting where you walk through a case study of a business just like yours getting the precise result you’re hoping for.

Then a relationship can happen

At this point you may be convinced that this person has the experience and talent to help your meet your objectives.

Once that conclusion is drawn you may become very interested in a full blown relationship where other elements of your business are on the table, things unrelated to your business are discussed and ultimately your hopes and dreams can be explored.

Maybe that point in a relationship never forms, but the experience and relationship that grows from that experience is what makes you stay and what gets you talking.

Relationships for relationship sake or, worse, as a tool to convince someone to buy from you, are a thing of the past and have little place in a world driven by technology connection points.

You must work to earn the opportunity to connect by providing business value early on. You must figure out how to connect others, share insights, prove that time spent with you will be worth it.

I know that sounds harsh, but I believe it’s a reality. Unless and until you build such a strong personal brand that people want to spend time with you for the sake of doing so, you need to think in terms of delivering value first and building relationship as a product of that.

Personal relationships in business matter, perhaps as much as ever, but they come as a result of building trust by making a solid business case first.

Why Teaching Is Such a Sexy Way to Sell

Okay, I’ll admit it, I was trying to get your attention with the inclusion of the word sexy in the title of this post, but before you cry foul, sexy as an adjective simply means desirable, interesting, appealing – all good things when it comes to attracting clients.

Teaching Sells

photo credit: theirhistory via photopin cc

Everyone knows that today you must educate if you want to build trust. But, may I suggest that teaching what you know how to do is also a powerful way to go beyond trust to closing more deals.

I’m not simply suggesting that you demonstrate your expertise. I’m talking about going to the point where you show someone, anyone, precisely how you do what you do.

Now, some might propose that this is a sure way to put yourself out of business. I mean, if you show someone how you do your magic tricks, they won’t need you.

Here’s the deal. Some people may actually take the information you share and figure they can take the DIY path, but I’m guessing those folks aren’t your ideal prospect anyway.

What I know is that some other people will conclude that you actually do know what you’re talking about and further, what you just explained is a whole lot harder than they imagined and would you please now charge them a premium to do it for them.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is sexy!

I have a client who came to this brilliant conclusion in this manner.

She is a photographer that specializes in taking infant and child portraits and candids.

Her competition is every other photographer and every parent with an $800 camera. Let’s just say there’s some significant price pressure in this arena.

So what does she do?

She starts holding free classes to teach all of those parents with their new $800 cameras how to take better pictures of their babies.

What, you say, that makes no sense at all.

Turns out the demand for this type of teaching is huge and she fills up class after class.

But, what you might not have guessed is that about 30% of the participants also hire her to take photos of junior for her full studio price.

Also turns out people had no idea how hard it is to take really awesome pictures and now the only person they will trust to take really awesome pictures of their child is my photographer client.

Oh, and now she charges for the classes too and still generates significant business from students.

So, what can you teach that will make your business more desirable, interesting, and appealing.

See, it turns out teaching is a pretty sexy way to sell.

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