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The Power of Relationships in Business

relationshipsAs consumers we are continually bombarded by ads, emails, mailers, and phone calls about the latest and greatest. How do we decide which ones to pay attention to and which ones to ignore?

In the same vein, how can the small business owner expect his/her marketing message and value proposition to stand out amongst the masses? The answer lies in using effective marketing techniques and differentiators in order to be as unique as possible. The higher the competition of a particular industry, the more difficult this becomes. One would be hard pressed to find many industries that are not saturated these days, unless it is a very unique and highly targeted business.

In addition to using creative and innovative messaging, small business owners should keep in mind the value of the relationships they build. The Internet and the use of social media have created a totally transparent society in that what one does and says is more often than not, broadcasted across the World Wide Web – especially if it is something negative. As the old adage states: “Bad news travels fast”. Reputation management has become an increasingly important area of concern for business owners – as it should be.

It is pretty much accepted by all that people like to do business with people they know. Think about it. How often do you ask people you know to refer you to a doctor, hair dresser, painter, or landscaper? How often do you hire someone to perform a service you need because you either know that person or know someone else who knows that person?

So, in the end, who gets the business? The person you know – either directly or through someone else. If you ask many self-employed folk how they found their first customers, you will find that most of them are from people they know.

Even in a world where technology is advancing at a rate close to the speed of light, basic principles of human nature and business prevail. Reputation and relationships matter.

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About the Author

Julie Weishaar Provides Internet and Video Marketing Solutions For Business

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9 Responses to “Don’t Underestimate the Value of Relationships”
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  1. Well said Julie. I used to be a member of BNI (Business Networking International). It's a good organization and since it's built on referrals, credibility and reputation is everything. The mantra in our chapter was that everything you do is either a relationship builder or a relationship destroyer. Those words continue to echo in my head to this day.

    • Thanks Sherryl for your comment. It is interesting that no matter how high tech our society becomes and no matter how reliant businesses are on the Internet and social media for promoting their brand, it all comes down to the basics of reputation and relationships. BNI is a great networking concept promoting doing business with members. Their mantra is a version of the Warren Buffet phrase “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”.

  2. Paul Novak says:

    Very well said Julie. It is precisely "who you know", in so many ways! If you want to get a leg up on the competition online, who you know can make or break you. A good referral from a trusted or authoritive source can literally transform your business overnight. It is critically important that businesses realize this and respond accordingly. It means being selective in who you refer, standing behind every last facet of your reputation, and doing everything in an upfront and direct manner.
     
    Of course, I'm an exception and get by on my good looks and stellar charm alone;)

    • Paul your modesty is overwhelming :) I agree with you completely that getting a good referral from an authoritative source can be a real boost to your reputation. I wrote on one of Chris Brogan’s blog posts that I want to be him in my next life – but I never heard from him LOL. I wasn’t kidding! A referral from him would do wonders for my business! (oops – wake up Julie) One thing I can brag about (not like you can about good looks and stellar charm) is my being upfront and direct. Anyone who knows me knows that I say what I mean – no guessing games required. Of course there are times when my filters are a little under-active. You know – the “foot in mouth syndrome” :)

  3. Hi Keith. I know what you mean. The connections I have made have proven invaluable to me in my business. People who are willing to share ideas and opinions can only benefit in the long run by the connections they make. Connections lead to trust lead to referrals lead to increasing the bottom line.

    Thanks for stopping in :)

  4. Keith Davis says:

    Hi Julie
    Makes perfect sense to me – we do business with people we know.
    I'm amazed by the number of people I've got to kinow via blogging. There is a great community spirit and sense of friendship out there.
    It has really taken me by surprise.

  5. Nostalgic says:

    Hello Julie,

    I am new to Bloggers and this is my first post! Your post contains some good advices to small businesses; the word of moth and viral marketing are essential tools of marketing for small businesses. Small businesses can't afford the more expensive marketing channels and therefore, they should rely on such marketing tools. You mentioned that small businesses also can benefit from social networking on the Internet; this is a good idea in developed countries but I think it is less effective in developing countries. Nevertheless, people in developing countries can still benefit from the traditional social networking.

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