We all know that relationships are the core of our business. They are the nucleus of our success. And even though we intuitively understand this principle, oftentimes we don’t give these key relationships the attention they deserve.
The days of trying to separate business and pleasure are over. If your goal is to drive new business through relationship marketing tactics, the core of your strategy must be social relationships – essentially creating social glue. This is your marketing’s V8 engine with 500 horsepower.
From the COI Perspective:
If your objective is to build better relationships with COIs, the fact that you are good at what you do and are an upstanding professional is a hygiene factor. Meaning, it’s an expectation. Without that, you don’t get a seat at the table. Assuming you are good at what you do, the social glue is what quickly matures these relationships, leading to fruitful business relationships.
But don’t take our word for it. Here are a few sound bites straight from our focus groups of CPAs and Estate Attorneys…
- “I have to grab a beer with them (advisor) after work. Maybe go to a Cubs game.”
- “If they (advisor) aren’t good at what they do or unprofessional, I don’t waste my time.”
- “I go to their (advisor) house for dinner regularly. We’ve become friends.”
- “If we are going to really work together, I have to get to know them (advisor) personally. I have to like them.”
From the Client Perspective:
As you build social relationships with your clients, they will personally lead you into their spheres of influence. Introductions become more comfortable, bringing friends to your Intimate Events is non-threatening, and networking becomes easy.
Our 2013 Affluent Research highlighted the following when it comes to social relationships with clients:
- Unsolicited referrals triple (Yes, triple!)
- 83% of clients are willing to introduce you if you have a social relationship
- Perceived investment performance skyrockets
- Every service aspect we measure increases dramatically!
These are just a few. Not to mention, you actually enjoy these relationships more!
Putting Social Glue into Action
We’re not saying you make everyone your new best friend. Instead, focus on shifting the tone of the relationship from business to social. This happens one relationship at a time…over time. But it’s worth it! Learn more about your key relationships and let them learn more about you.
For some, this will feel like work. If you are an introvert by nature, you will have to force yourself to invest the time and energy in socializing. Here are just a few ideas to help change the tone of the relationship…
- Extend phone calls and stimulate conversations around what’s important to them
- Get one-on-one over a strictly social lunch or coffee
- Invite them to your intimate client events
- Schedule time for play dates if you have children of similar ages
- Send them online articles related to their hobbies, interest, and passions
You get the point. It’s not rocket science – it’s social glue. And it’s what binds an effective relationship marketing strategy together.
Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols are thought-leaders and coaches with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell @KevinANichols www.oechsli.com