If you say "I want to build a relationship"; what are you saying? Are you "relationship marketing"? Can your statement be interpreted as: "I have something for sale." "I want to buy your product or service." What is your intent? Are you looking for a friend?
When 17 years old, the top conversation topic was "I want to be your boyfriend" or "I want to be your girlfriend." The outcome was exchanging rings, jackets, necklaces, hats, tattoos, etc. As a nerd who did not fit in well, this was not my best part of life. Though I had the desire, I did not understand or fit into the "crowd". The pattern continues as people and businesses try to connect.
Those who are young concentrate conversations about the relationship vs. focusing on efforts to ensure the relationship.
If you meet someone in any arena, whether it be by Twitter, at a breakfast, at a wedding, on Facebook or telephone, at school or event; the first thing you do NOT say is "Let's build a relationship."
Relationship is a symptom.
Good relationships form because Faith And Trust are developed (FAT).
Bad relationships are the result of promises broken, greedy intent and poor communication.
Why are you going to reach out to me? You need to let me know right up front. "Get to know you" is not a reason. That is what people do when they "date".
Everyone is hoping for good relationships. Why press the point of the obvious? Asking anyone more than once "What do you think of our relationship?" can be like a bad odor in a room you hope to avoid.
Here are alternatives for making an introduction and invitation which do not make you look like a shallow teenager who wants to talk about nothing other than "Is our relationship OK?"
- Did you know there is a way to shop at Costco without a Costco card? Would you be interested in learning how?
- Did you know there is a free tool that will make animals talk online. Are you interested?
- Did you know I lost 26 pounds exercising 25 minutes a day for three months while eating five times a day? How does that sound?
- Did you want me to write a blog article about how you are trying to conquer the world or change the community?
- Did you know anyone in the military who is in a high risk zone we can have a moment of silence and prayers for?
- Do you need me to help you move that piano?
- This is the best email services list on the planet. Do you need help?
- Did you know a great way to keep up with the world with very little research?
- Did you know about the 11 guerrilla marketing metrics to be measuring?
- How is your Dad? Do you want me to help you pick out a present for Father's Day?
- Do you have any need for free software?
- Do you hate to write but love to talk? Would you like to have your talks transformed into text?
Sacrifice, commitment, taking a risk of one's reputation to give support are all signs of someone who is serious about "building a relationship". Selling something with the first words of "build a relationship" makes the word "relationship" now avoidable.
If you send me a Tweet that says: "Thank you for connecting on Twitter, "Like me" on Facebook or "Let's connect on Facebook and build a relationship", there is a good chance I will unfollow you.
I will be puzzled if I call your phone and your answering service message is not:
"Thank you for calling. I am not available right now. I would like to build a relationship with you. (Even though I am not available.) Please go to Facebook and "Like me" so we can build a relationship."
I doubt anyone will go to the trouble of leaving this on their answering machine.
If you are serious... think of a new way to introduce yourself that risks reputation, sacrifices something special, gives something of amazing value.
Inbound marketing is not about asking people to "like you". The real relationship will be 95/5.
The one with the money buying the goods and services will be doing the 5%.
The buyer will: Think, sweat, ponder, research, pay, not return it and maybe even give a referral or complete a survey.
If you are a small business owner, coach or entrepreneur offering services: How are you filling the missing 95% in this lopsided relationship?
Sure... I suppose we could start with the weather, move on to sports, then politics and maybe other dramatic news. Sooner or later will you say: "Let's build a relationship?" Probably not. Relationships develop.
Building relationships to improve sales has proven to be effective. How to build relationships is not about the talk... it is about the walk.
It is sad that this is true: "When it is all said and done... more is said." Let's flip it the other way to "more is done".
The other one: "What do you do?" is not the right question.
"How are you conquering the world or changing the community?" is the way to go.
If your goal is to build business, then understand the principles of inbound marketing. Free training is available and you can start today. Once you understand inbound marketing principles, you will no longer push people into building a relationship. It will go on automatic.
With each contact, make their day.