Relationships Matter Most
Dennis owns a vehicle repair shop. He attended one of our branding seminars many years ago. As is still the case, when our seminars are complete, we invite attendees to a private workshop with our team to talk strategy and implementation. Dennis took advantage of that workshop.
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
We talked about competition and what made Dennis different from other car repair facilities. We asked why Dennis got into the business in the first place (one of my favorite strategy questions with new clients).
Following the session, we met with Dennis to share our plan, our strategy and how we would identify his point of differentiation. The dramatization of that point would happen through storytelling… a campaign of commercials that positioned Dennis’ shop as, “the perfect alternative to those high-priced dealerships or those greasy grimy repair shops.”
Dennis loved the strategy, and the investment level, while a stretch, was appropriate. Then, the magic happened. After the meeting, we told Dennis, “there are a lot of great places to invest your advertising dollars. We hope that you have confidence and faith in our strategy and how we want to execute it, but you need to be completely comfortable.” We told Dennis that we were not interested in closing a sale, but instead, opening a business relationship.
The strategy was solid, the execution was strong but what opened the relationship (as we found out later) is that we told Dennis to take his time and make sure the decision was right for him.
Dennis later explained that any company that would do all the work and at the end of the process not try to hard sell, but instead demonstrate that the relationship was important, was the company he wanted to work with.
The most important and often overlooked quality at the foundation of every relationship is caring. You must care about the people you build relationships with. Equal to the component of caring is the spirit of giving. Successful relationships are not successful because of what you get out of them; they are successful because of what you put into them.
We demonstrated to Dennis that we cared about him as a person, and we cared about his business. Dennis is a good client. His business has grown, and the business has faced challenges. Because of the strength of the relationship we have with Dennis, he is still doing business with the same rep, more than 15 years later.
Tomorrow, we’ll give you some tips and questions to ask to determine the strength of your client relationships and some guidance on how to make them even stronger.