January 3, 2021 Comments Closed

Leveraging Relationships: A Safer Bet

Posted by:CLIFTON WARREN onJanuary 3, 2021

It’s definitely popular, but when you think about it, social media marketing is a bit of a gamble.

Here are some interesting facts and statistics.

Did you know?

There are over 1.7 billion websites on the Internet

9 new websites are created every minute

The first YouTube video was uploaded in 2005

Today, more than 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute

There are over 700 million LinkedIn users.

I’m regularly approached by executives and business leaders who want to talk about social media marketing. They tell with, with great excitement, about their plans, or about a recent hire – a millennial (aged 26-40) who knows everything about social media, website and search engine optimisation (SEO) marketing. Finally, they ask me for my thoughts.

My advice: ‘Save your money’.

Social media, website and SEO marketing does have a place, but only after you’ve built a rock-solid foundation for lead generation, and you have spare cash to spend on experimenting and speculating to find that extra 1%.

It’s sad, but true, that many business leaders are looking for a quick and easy ‘fix’ to generate leads – simply because they’ve never been taught how to do it efficiently and effectively.

Leverage relationships: a superior approach.

What are leverage relationships?

They are individual relationships that provide a favourable return for you, in terms of marketing purposes, help you with introductions and leads, and vouch for your statements to prospects and others with whom you need, or want, to make a favourable impression.

Leverage relationships can be built with satisfied clients, nonclient referral sources, and with strategic alliance partners. If you are pro-active in maintaining these relationships, your new business development tasks will become much easier.

You might be surprised to learn that most professionals already regard leverage relationships as a core asset. The problem, however, is that it has not been systematised to produce results consistently.

How to use leverage relationships

Here is a 5-step leverage referral generating program:

Build a list.

Establish a database of your leverage relationships, including:

Suppliers

Vendors

Your top 20% clients

Nonclient referral sources

Niche market influencers: analysts, competitors, gurus and editors of publications

Stay close.

Make systematic personal contact with at least 20 touches per year, via:

Newsletters

Phone

Event hosting

Cultivate the relationship.

Be systematic in your follow-up, with special, individual communication:

Handwritten notes

Items of value

Endorsement letters

Develop their loyalty.

Provide exceptional customer service, through:

A caring attitude

Good communication

Consistency in your systems

Go the extra mile.

Implement a client appreciation program:

Do something special, and do it systematically

Be proactive

Surprise and delight your clients

The basic contact formula

It can be summed up this way: Educate. Ask for help. Reward.

Educate. Each time you communicate with contacts in your database, you should be educating them, reinforcing the types of value and results you provide. Emphasise you have specialised knowledge and ideas to share.

Ask for help. You do this by asking contacts to get in touch with you if they, or others they know, require assistance in overcoming roadblocks, solving problems or facing challenges. Preparing scripts, and becoming proficient in using them will pay high dividends here.

Reward. Finally, show your appreciation at every point: when you take a call; when you obtain a meeting; and when you’ve closed the business. Don’t make the mistake of rewarding only those referrals that turn in closed business. Instead, reward the right behaviours – that is, reward the behaviours you want them to repeat, over and over again. Top performers treat their referral sources better than the referrals.

Stop using ad-hoc and expensive marketing methods. Instead, build yourself a solid foundation. Block out 15 minutes every day to manage your leverage relationships. This will keep your sales pipeline overflowing and delivering a huge ROI in a very short space of time.

Think of social media marketing like playing the casino. After you have built your foundation and achieved good results, use a small percentage of the profits you’ve earned to ‘have a flutter’ and go after that extra 1%.

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