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5 Critical Components of an Effective Relationship Marketing Plan

by Bill Cates
5 Critical Components of a Relationship Marketing Plan

Most discussions about Relationship Marketing revolve around the concept of client satisfaction and client loyalty. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. But that’s just one of 5 critical components that should be part of your relationship marketing plan.


If you look at the definition of the word relationship, you will often see the phrase an emotional connection.  So inherent in the concept of relationship marketing are the emotions of trust, likability, satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.


The renowned neuroscientist Antonio Damasio has demonstrated that at the heart of any decision is emotion. Through the use of Magnetic Resonance Tomography, Damasio discovered that subjects who had experienced damage to the part of the brain that houses emotions, could not make decisions. No emotion equals no decision.


No emotional connection to you as a person, and to your value, means no trust, likability, satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. No emotional connection to you and your value means no leverage – no ability to maximize the full value of that relationship.


I have dedicated the last 25 years of my business life to helping professionals and businesses of all sizes tap into the 5 Critical Components of Relationship Marketing. I have yet to encounter a business that couldn’t increase their activity level and enhance their results in these five areas. How about you?




5 Critical Components of a Successful Relationship Marketing Plan


#1 – Client Engagement


Engaged clients stay with you longer, do more business with you, are more profitable, and provide more referrals and introductions.


To create engaged clients, you need to continually work on two aspects of your client relationships. You have to continue to bring value in the form of education, wisdom, clarity, helping with tough decisions, and providing stellar service.


And for clients to feel engaged with you, they have to get to know you as a person.  All things being equal, people do business with people they like. All things not being equal, people still do businesses with people they like. 


The secret to helping clients feel a strong sense of engagement with you and then turning those clients into advocates, is creating business friendships.


#2 – Generating Referrals & Introductions


Serving the heck out of your clients – creating engaged clients – will certainly generate some unsolicited referrals. And unsolicited referrals count!  Unsolicited referrals and introductions are a sign of being super referable in the eyes of your clients.


For most businesses – word of mouth and unsolicited referrals will lead to incremental growth. But if you want to accelerate your growth, you need to do two things:  be appropriately proactive for referrals and then turn those referrals into solid introductions.


In fact, I believe that in this day and age of hard-to-reach prospects, “Referrals” are pretty much worthless unless you get introduced – connected – to the new prospect.  When speaking with your prospects, clients, and centers of influence, always favor the word “introductions” because that’s what you really want. You want to get connected.


#3 – Productive Centers of Influence


Centers of influence are the folks who may never become clients, but still have the ability to introduce you to qualified prospects.


The 3 keys to creating productive relationships with these referral partners are making sure they fully understand:

  • Your value – you are referable in their eyes.
  • Who you serve the best and how to identify those people.
  • How to make good introductions – advocating for your value and creating a solid connection.


#4 – Social Event Marketing


Social event marketing – is a highly efficient and effective way to meet high-level prospects. When your clients and centers of influence invite qualified guests to your events, you are able to engage with everyone in a more personal way. Then when you meet with your prospect for a business meeting, you are already at a higher level of trust and likability.


Social Event Marketing will deepen your engagement with your clients and start creating engagement with their guests. Social Event Marketing will help you create more ambassadors or advocates for your business.


#5 – Social Media Engagement


When it comes to using social media, most professionals and businesses only get one part of the equation right. They connect with a lot of people and share useful information with those people.  What’s missing?  Conversations!


For most business models, turning social media connections into actual conversations is what will allow you to become more relevant to that person. Do your prospects just show up at your office or call you on the phone and say, “I want to do business with you?” Not usually. It starts with a conversation – a give and take of information and questions.


From now on, when it comes to your social media marketing strategies – don’t just think connections. Think conversations. Make your ultimate call to action a conversation with you or someone in your firm.



2 Important Words


If I had to sum all of this up in just two words… those words would be Engagement and Leverage.


First – Always think in terms of engagement with your prospects, clients, and centers of influence. Bring relevant information and ideas to them and allow your personality and values to shine through. Give them a sense of who you are and how much you believe in the value that you bring to your clients.


And Second – always think in terms of leverage. The life-time value of an engaged client is not just the business you can do with them, it’s also who they can introduce you to. Creating engagement through value and personal connection allows you to earn the right to ask for the next step – be it for direct introductions, having people attend your events, and inviting prospects to do business with you.



What Do You Think?


What’s your reaction to these components of Relationship Marketing?  I’d love to hear from you.  Let’s start a little conversation.


 P.S. Don't Keep This a Secret!

Referral Coach