You've probably noticed that social media has become the new platform for relationship marketing almost overnight. Communities like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook have spread like wildfire all over the world. If all this makes you feel as if relationship marketing is the next natural step in expanding your business and community, it is!
I believe that as social media expands so does the definition of relationship marketing. There are many open questions as to just how to use social media to leverage sales and grow your business. I don't pretend to have all the answers. What I do know is that the relationship itself has become the key to success, rather than the sale that might come out of the relationship.
Selling continues to evolve as our contacts continue to expand. No matter what we do or say, we touch other people. It's our responsibility to align our heads with our hearts as we reach out to connect. After all, the most powerful connections are made heart to heart - through our feelings, not through intellect.
As savvy consumers, we are all looking for value beyond the product or service we're buying. We crave community, even in business. And what better way to establish a natural extension of sharing your true purpose or vision with the world than through this more expanded view of Selling and Relationship Marketing?
In her chapter of the book Healing the Heart of the World: Harnessing the Power of Intention to Change Your Life and Your Planet, Caroline Myss shares, "The best gift you can give anyone in this life is to become a fully congruent human being... I can't imagine a more compassionate thing."
Even in cyberspace people are being drawn in through a more heart-centered channel, whether they feel the change happening or not. True success doesn't come from pushing; it comes from connecting -- attracting the right people by creating relationships that move you forward.
To Thine Own Self Be True
In the game of business (and life), your success and happiness are based on your morals, ethics and core beliefs. As Carolyn Myss would probably say, it's a matter of being congruent; your actions reflect the strong foundation you have put into place. In business you will be respected and appreciated because your partners, vendors and customers will know where you stand on most any subject.
This is how Tera McHugh of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs (AofWE). has built her successful business. Tera moved to Los Angeles from Chicago in 2003 and found herself at a crossroads. She took this upheaval as an opportunity, and with much soul searching, connected with her core passions and her heart. She documented the step-by-step process of rediscovering herself and started an online consulting business teaching her signature process to others.
Her passion and her joy of service and helping others led her to start AofWE. She has made a career from doing what brings her joy while supporting other women to do the same. Living in bliss is part of Tera's strong foundation.
Building strong relationships is a key component of Tera's continued success. She utilizes social media to build relationships. Using social media to strike up a conversation, she then builds strategic partnerships which allow her to focus on reaching a larger audience.
"Much of what I see others teaching on relationship marketing is all about social media and while attracting followers on Twitter and fans or "likers" on Facebook is an important piece of the relationship marketing puzzle, there is so much more that goes into attracting clients and creating high customer retention."
Tara understands the importance of like-minded partnerships. "Over the years I've seen many business owners waste time building strategic partnerships with others that weren't quite the right match, costing them a ton of money, time and effort, sometimes even their reputation. There is some work that goes into building a solid foundation for your business and for relationship marketing. It starts with gaining clarity about the big vision for your company, including your values, mission and identifying who your ideal client is."
Tera focuses on others' needs, not just her own. "Many people focus only on themselves and what they want and miss the mark on building effective Strategic Partnerships." Effective collaboration to build win-win relationships is a must for success. When you lead with your heart, stay in alignment with your core beliefs and reach out from this congruent place you will succeed.
Tera's says, "'If it ain't fun, don't do it' and success to me means spending each day doing what I love to do. My passion is helping others connect to the resources they need to be successful. If I've been able to do that at least once in a day I feel it has been a fun successful day!"
Follow Carolyn Ziel on Twitter: www.twitter.com/carolynziel