Archives for posts with tag: relationship


I love coffe. I get a coffee twice a day. And every other month, I switch coffee shops.

It’s not that I don’t like these coffee shops, or I don’t like the atmosphere, I just don’t want another relationship in my life. I don’t want to commit to a coffee shop. I don’t need the ‘Cheers’ moment where everybody knows my name, knows my order, has it ready for me when I stand in line. My coffee is not important enough to me for me to have a relationship that revolves around it.

Many marketers find that odd.  Because a lot of marketers act as if the end all and be all of their existence and their brands is a relationship.

Sure, there are maybe masses of people so lonely that they need to converse with toilet paper or beer or cleaning supplies. Maybe relationship marketing works with these people.

There are masses out there who want to be left alone. They don’t want anybody to know their name. They are the ones at the self-checkout counters at airports and stores.

Sometimes the best you can do for customers is just to leave them alone.


Hugh posted a great image yesterday.

And he added:

“Intimacy isn’t strictly about romantic relationships, or even relations with family–sometimes it happens quickly, and often times in ways we hardly even notice.

I’m talking about that moment when someone allows the world to see what’s inside…what they are really about. It’s about seeing someone for who and what they are and that the glimpse was offered either voluntarily or without the person’s knowledge. This is an incredible moment where our existence suddenly makes sense and all comes together in a singular place.

For those of who have experienced this, it’s something that never gets lost in memory or time. It’s like a little mirror we take out every now and then to remember a time when something so complex became so inconceivably simple. It’s pretty incredible.”

It happened to me a few times. And I cherish those moments. I experienced it mostly with loved ones. But I had that moment with a stranger once. I wish there was a way where we could bare our souls at least to ourselves once in a while. It seems, that might be the hardest thing to do.

Imagine: Being able so see inside of ourself and take stock of what’s really there. What we’re really about. Life would change in an instant.

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Marketing and selling professional services is all about building relationships in which you are considered a trusted advisor. You demonstrate your expertise in ways that build credibility and trust.


If we all agree on that, why do I see all these service overviews, capability presentations, client lists and process overviews?

Sure, you might check off some boxes but it doesn’t help you achieve the ultimate goal: Establish yourself as a thought leader and trusted advisor.

Imagine two agencies:

Agency A develops a list of prospects for their services, creates a capabilities brochure and website, and sends out an email to their prospects, to be followed by a call few days later.

Agency B uses the same prospect list but they invest money in researching either the vertical they’re targeting, the regional area they want to work in or the service expertise area they want to target. And they share the insights gathered by research with their prospects.

Now, which company would you like to meet with?

I get bored just thinking about Agency A.

Agency A provides no value and doesn’t differentiate itself. (“We are another agency that can do the same thing as all the other agencies. Choose us.”)

Agency B provides something of value and showcases their expertise without being annoying. The prospect might have an agency they work with but Agency B has a good chance to stand out and get some business going. They don’t want to talk about themselves, they want to talk business, starting a real relationship.

So, forget about marketing your services, your processes, your capabilities. Spend your time and budget on creating value. It delivers better ROI, establishes trust and is a good start to a long, fruitful relationship.


via Alvin Diec


A few months ago, I caught the bicycle fever. I had to ride my bicycle, had to train other muscles in my body than just the brain. I looked inside the garage and saw my bike: dusty, flat tires and just not very happy being left alone for such a long time. Ok, time for a little bicycle spa treatment. Oh no, don’t get me start working on that stuff. I will mess it up. Two left hands can’t work miracles. So, I drove down to the bike shop and asked them for help. I was expecting a major bill: New tires, new brakes, tuning – the whole enchilada.

The owner looked at the bicycle and said: “Give me 20 minutes and I’ll have it ready for you.” I grabbed a cup of coffee and returned 20 minutes later. There was my new old bicycle: sparkling, oiled and ready to race the world. When I asked the owner how much I owed him, he said: “Nothing.” I said “No, I owe you something. You worked on it.” And he answered “Look, it took me 5 minutes to fix your bike and I’m not going to charge you for it. All I ask is that you think of me next time you have a major repair or intend to buy a new bicycle.”

That moment I became the biggest fan of this bike shop. And all of us can learn so much from his marketing strategy. He wasn’t looking to make a quick buck. He’s building a real business. A brand I want to share with everyone. His brand mission: Do the best work, be honest and trust me. The bike store next door can be 50% cheaper. I won’t even look at them. He has my loyalty for the rest of my life. It’s plain brilliant. We all have stories about handymen, small shops that survive by ripping you off. And we’ve seen the local news revealing the seedy business practices of small shops. He just stomped the competition with his brand positioning. We’re not going to screw you.

What does this have to do with marketing?

4 months ago, I had a meeting with a prospective client. They were interested in SEO, SEM, banner ads, some Social Marketing. Problem is, we don’t do SEO, SEM and banner ads. And, we don’t do the typical Twitter/Facebook Social Marketing. We want to understand business issues and help to solve them. We don’t believe in quick fixes, fancy campaigns to cover up problems. Still, some clients need quick fixes and can’t focus on holistic solutions right now.

That’s understandable. There are business challenges that need to be addressed now. There are shareholder and sales imperatives. And there are deadlines. We could do it. But we wouldn’t be the best solution for the immediate problem.

So, we offered them to help find the right partner for the immediate challenges. We gave business away. Money we could have used to reinvest in our company.

But, did we give business away?

We started to develop a real relationship based on trust. We invested a lot of time to help this client. Never saw a dime. And it felt so good.

We became trusted advisors and skipped the supplier/vendor stage. It’s a different relationship. We’re here to help you. Nothing else. They trusted us like I trust the bicycle shop.

Which is why they called us today. To talk about business strategy for 2011.

We’re building a business here. Not a short-term profit center.