THE BLOG
07/24/2014 09:00 am ET Updated Sep 22, 2014

Relationship Marketing 1-2-3: Why Building Relationships Matters Most

Did you know that your company's success is built on "Relationship Marketing"? Any good salesperson will tell you that you need to be able to make a lot of friends. Cultivating relationships has always been an essential part of sales, and it always will be.

According to Forbes Magazine, a business is only as good as the clients it serves, and no business gets far after losing the clients it has (Forbes, 2013). Research shows that even with the best products and business practices, you still need strong relationships to succeed in this marketplace and RESPECT is at the core of building business relationships (LeadingInsight, 2013).

According to INC.com,"Real success, the kind that exists on multiple levels, is impossible without building great relationships (INC, 2013). In business, demonstrating VALUE for your customers' money means that your product (service) must have certain features and benefits for your customers. For customers to drive your business, it is imperative that you find people who believe in your products or services.

The more a client comes to depend on you, the stronger your relationship becomes, which is priceless. The key to success is building relationships that go beyond one-time projects (purchases) and provide VALUE to each client on a consistent, ongoing basis (Forbes, 2013) .

The reality is that it takes time to nurture your clients into loyal customers, but not if you remember that business is all about Relationships, Relationships, Relationships! Here are seven basic rules to follow as you are building those ever-more important relationships:

1. In a professional setting, people like to have relationships with those that can help their careers or businesses. Be that person. If you assert yourself, it will invariably help both your network and your reputation.

Make sure that your connections are diverse and with people who are really doing things. Then, the next time you need an expert or help with an idea, you'll have someone you can call, and it's incredibly fulfilling to be a trusted partner fueling that growth.

2. Send updates about what you're learning and accomplishing in your business or career and ask your contacts to do the same. By exchanging information, you can determine who in your network is inspiring and excellent in their respective fields, which can potentially lead to more connections down the road.

3. Don't go long periods of time without being on someone's radar. If possible, invite a few guests to an event you're organizing or attending. In this way, everyone benefits.

4. Keep in mind that social media relationships do not replace solid marketing strategy. They amplify it. If you are thinking that a few blog posts, random status updates, and a healthy number of "followers" and "likes" are going to magically grow your business, don't count on it. Your best course of action is to keep the pipeline flowing.

Keep networking. Keep applying for new jobs or find inventive ways to promote your business and keep your options open. In addition, consider publishing a blog to publicly promote your expertise and provide updates on your activities and accomplishments. Be sure to maintain a strong online presence on relevant social media network sites such as LinkedIn or Twitter.

5. Always remember specific details about your clients. The ones who you know best and who feel most connected to you will talk about you to others. This is how your personal relationships continue to grow.

6. Developing partnerships with your preferred clients, this goes beyond individual project development. A client that feels assured that you are in it for the long haul, and that you're actively motivated to help him or her succeed will begin to see you as more than just a vendor or supplier. You become a partner in their enterprise and you become someone they grow to value now and into the future.

7. Devote a portion of your day towards relationship building, even if it's just 10 to 20 minutes. Decide that you will contact two or three clients or prospects every day to develop a healthy list of relationships.

Consider This...If you treat every client as your most important one, happy clients are more likely to make referrals. Provide all clients with your best service, regardless of their stature. You never know who your clients may know or to whom they might refer you.

Just as importantly, should they switch careers, either within their company or move on to a new one, you want to maintain that partnership so they will recommend you to their new associates. Lastly, it is important to remember that today's small companies could be the big companies of tomorrow.

Always remember that business is all about Relationships, Relationships, Relationships! It takes a long-term commitment to earn success.