[Read-O-Meter Read Time: 3m 12s]
This is the book we wish Dr. Gray wrote, but there's a lot of transferrable business lessons from his teachings.
Businesses have relationships with its clients which we often chart out on a scale of Brand Loyalty (Awareness, Preference, Evangelism). The goal is not for your clients to know you exist or just prefer you, but to be INSISTENT upon you! If we can agree this is the goal, then we can start with the problem: We are focused on what we need instead of what the other person needs.
We see this in both personal and professional relationships. For years, relationship therapists talk about the power of giving first. For example, if a couple is struggling, you'll often see an exercise where they are asked to give something to the other person every day for 30 days that their partner wants. It can be something as simple as a compliment, a favor or a small gift. What ends up happening is that the other person starts giving back! And this series of small exchanging of kindness translates into two people that are focused on what the other person needs, and not what they need.
"A relationship can only be successful if it's a place both people go to give"
- Dr. John Gray
(Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus)
The law of reciprocity is a powerful force. Marketers for years have sent out mailers with a one dollar bill attached asking for "some action" whether it be to fill out a survey or visit their website (or whatever). The stunning fact is that those campaigns are incredibly effective because when you are given something, we are hard-coded as a civilians to return the favor.
Money is the obvious example because everyone can use it, but what are you giving to your client that makes them want to give back to you?
In the digital era, we've seen that creating content that's Unique and Useful is the new "sending a dollar bill". But what it does [which is even more important than invoking the law of reciprocity] is that it engenders a relationship between you and those you're delivering to along with helping you position yourself as a thought leader of your industry. I call this Relationship Automation. You are developing a relationship with anyone your content comes into contact with. When they meet you for the first time, they feel like they know and trust you!
This is not an earth-shattering revelation. Many are screaming this principle across the ol' Intraweb, simply pull up any YouTube video of Gary Vaynerchuck. However, the piece that I see missing is the "relationship".
We're not sending a dollar bill which anyone can use. We're sending information, which is why it is critically important that we relate to our clients. Understanding what your clients want/need is the key to your ability to deliver it to them.
There's essentially two ways we can relate to our clients better: Get to know them, or attract clients that relate to what we believe. In either case, you must understand what your clients & prospects are in need of.
"Don't sell to people. Sell to a person...lots of persons!"
When deciding on a new service provider/company, people can get a little apprehensive. When you're giving them important content, tools, perspective, etc, here's the message you convey:
✓ I'm giving you a lot of "stuff", but I have so much more to give!
✓ I'm a giver and actually care about you!
✓ I'm a leader in my industry.
✓ My value is not in the tools I give, it's my experience in applying them!
I highly recommend giving as a business practice! It's a principle that our company is founded on, but also an incredible way to connect with clients that have a high likelihood of becoming an Evangelist as they are buying from you because of the relationship (emotion) that you helped develop.
About the Author: Having founded a successful network security start-up, Brandon Bain has over a decade of experience in developing comprehensive marketing strategies for a wide variety of industries. With a background in marketing & business development, Brandon is uniquely able to create creative communication action plans that drive financial results. Brandon’s expertise in brand management, thought leadership and corporate communications is built on his passionate commitment for purpose-driven organizational goals.