This morning, I heard an advertisement on the radio for a great service. It’s something that lots of people need. It lends itself well to relationship marketing. But their dedication to service and their relationship with their customers was overshadowed by their closing words of desperation.
“We want your business.”
I winced on their behalf. Even the tone of voice sounded like Oliver asking for another bowl of porridge. Yes, it’s important to let people know you want their business. And yes, it’s fine to ask for it. But putting something out on an advertisement, distributed broadly and impersonally, is quite different from speaking one-to-one with a potential customer.
One-to-One vs. Broadband
While talking with my triple-Purple Heart and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient neighbor, he mentions he’d love to tell the story about his survival. In that situation, it’s fine for me to tell him, “you know I’m a ghostwriter and telling your story is something I can certainly help you with. I’d love to have your business.”
This is different from when I’m putting an advertisement out there to float around Facebook or Google, or even on the radio. The accepted truth these days is that everybody in cyber-space wants your business. That’s the nature of the beast. Asking for it is therefore redundant.
Honestly, when’s the last time you heard a radio advertisement asking you to allow them to give you something completely free. No hint of side sales pressure, no upsells, no subscriptions, not even an email opt-in?
Bet it’s been a while.
People don’t pay for advertising space unless they hope to get something in return. Maybe that’s why I don’t do a lot of paid advertising. I’m good with giving a little advice away for free if it’ll help you put your stories to work in the world.
The good news is, there’s a simple fix to the desperation-style approach. It’s always been around, but the internet certainly makes it much easier.
A Better Way: Relationship Marketing
You can find this referred to in many ways. One of the most popular terms is relationship marketing. The idea behind it is that you spend most your efforts on actually building relationships with your potential customers. You do this by doing the things a friend would do.
Think about the things you do with your friends. You probably do fun things together. Maybe you talk about some of your personal experiences. Because you’re an expert, you might also provide them with free advice or resources to help them with something they’re struggling with. Between meetings, you might pass along helpful information you think they might need simply because you saw it and thought of them.
Now, you’re obviously not going to sit down with your new contact and start telling him about Johnny’s surgery last month. You’re certainly not going to complain about the challenges that introduced to your schedule. But you might help that person understand why a decision they’re about to make is the right or wrong choice for their situation.
If and when they have need of something you do professionally, you’ll be the person they’ll call. Now, they already know you, they like you, and they trust that you will have their best interests at heart.
Okay, that’s easy enough to understand when the person is sitting across the table from you, but how do you handle this over the radio?
Translating Relationship Marketing to the Bigger Market
Over the radio or the internet, any attempt to sound like a caring next door neighbor is probably going to fall flat. Having never set eyes on each other, the simple idea that you really do care about every stranger who might happen to hear your spot is slightly unbelievable.
But maybe you have a better approach to welcoming new customers to your location. Maybe you have perfected a quick and easy system to customize your service to each client’s unique needs.
“We dedicate ourselves to helping you find solutions.”
“Let us help you make the best choice for you.”
“Contact us for a free guidance on how to …”
Think of your commercial as your introduction and invitation. After you’ve told them what you do, it ceases to become about you anymore. Now it’s time to learn about them. How would you invite someone to tell you about their needs?