Relationships require knowing, liking, and trusting, but they go deeper. There is a bond or a connection. Often times it’s intangible – a feeling. Other times it’s a shared idea or activity. Whatever that piece is, the bond created is powerful. Maintain it and you have loyalty.
Long before the internet and social media, I built relationships in person, one person at a time. I joined networking groups, attended networking events, went to corporate and sponsored outings from dinners to golf tournaments. I met people and got to know them, not what they did. I figured out who among them were in my target audience and who I could connect with on a deeper level. I learned about them by taking the time to actively listen to them. Then, when appropriate, I responded. I became part of THEIR conversation. I added value to it and promoted them.
When it made sense, I started discussions. I stuck to topics that would interest those I had met and were my audience. There was an effort made to not only show I was credible, but genuine. I shared personal stories as well as discussed business. I was focused on connecting with them as people and not seeing them as clients.
I developed and nurtured those relationships.
Business was no longer transactional. My product/service was no longer a commodity subject to cheaper prices, convenience, or curiosity. My customers were purchasing from me and loyal because there was a relationship, a friendship, a connection and a bond which extended to my brand or the brand I represented.