Relationship Marketing for Prospects

As personal selling to cold prospects becomes more difficult and expensive and as business-to-business marketers come to realize the prime prospects in their niche markets are relatively few, relationship marketing becomes the priority.

First there were the separate discipline of advertising, public relations, direct marketing, sales promotion, event management and personal selling, then integrated marketing communications brought all those separate disciplines together in one combined approach to the marketplace. Relationship marketing is integrated marketing communications to qualified individuals.

For the business-to-business marketer relationship marketing has four components:

- Developing and maintaining a list of key prospects, which means winnowing down a mailing list of 2000 to the best 200, or to the top 100, decision-makers in your specialty.

- Staying in contact with the list and requalifying it; “Still the same decision-maker? And assistant? Same address? Same general qualifications?

- Establishing credibility with key prospects over time by offering choices of content by trade media, the Internet, phone, mail or in person.

- Being on call when a need arises. On first contact perhaps 95 percent of your key prospects will have no immediate need. But over time, perhaps 100 percent will have a need.

The last bullet point is why repeated direct mail canvassing of a large database to gain a few immediate prospects is not a wise relationship marketing strategy. Instead of harassing key prospects with that kind of mail (and cheapening the perception of your company), it is better to send valuable information to a much smaller, more qualified list and create a favorable perception with them. Include qualified opinion leaders on that list. So they may digest your information and have knowledge of your products/services when asked by a decision-maker.

How do you get the attention of decision-makers, and how do you get them interested in your products or services?

Today decision-makers are scan-readers bookmarking, or rolodexing, future resources. Unless there is an immediate need, they don’t have time to thoroughly read valuable, targeted content on particular products or services, they only have time to differentiate between good content and promotional schlock. The source of the good content gets filed, put in a rolodex, or bookmarked on a Web browser for the inevitable future need. That exchange, your good content for the decision-maker’s interest and attention, is the beginning of a marketing relationship. It is no coincidence the increasing dominance of the Internet and the World Wide Web and the resulting overflow of information have made credible, targeted content important to every business-to-business sales and relationship marketing effort.

How do you stay in touch with and on the short list of the majority of your prospects who do not have an immediate need?

Canvass your select prospects regularly offering content by phone, email or mail in exchange for more information about their needs. They will respond as their needs change and develop, or if they tire of their current provider(s). Sometimes making it onto a short list of invited bidders is as far as the prospect will allow the relationship to develop. But if you make that short list, you are conducting a successful relationship marketing effort.

Establishing the credibility of your company’s special expertise in solving prospective purchasers problems paves the way for your sales consultants to provide the decision-maker with expert professional service to customize your offering and close the sale. The consultant is introduced into the relationship as a person possessing valuable information needed by the prospect to solve a problem.

Direct Sales and Network Marketing With Social Media

Social media and networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have dramatically influenced online home business network marketing and direct sales. These powerful and dynamic outlets have added new, cost free ways to reach potential customers and to capitalize on expanded listings of your products, business and opportunities. Promoting, network marketing and direct sales, using social media sites, can prove to be very effective, no cost techniques to improve the visibility and recognition of your business, products and opportunities.

Potential customers are now using these social media and social networking sites to conduct business, opportunity and product research; to locate experienced references and to pursue first hand consumer recommendations. This translates into an incredible opportunity for reputable business owners to get unlimited exposure.

Your best bet, as a retailer, wholesaler or seller, is to develop a relationship with your potential customer, first. That is what these social media sites are all about. Developing relationships. I am not suggesting that you need to find a new best friend. But, a recognizable friendship will benefit you, big time, when it comes time for your sales pitch. Avoid blanketing your new acquaintance with impersonal sales pitches, in the beginning. Consumers do not make purchases from faceless companies or factories. People make purchases from other people. Their purchases are based on emotions and not on practicality. So, if you have already developed a friendly relationship with your potential customer, and they like you personally – when it comes time to make a purchase, it will be more likely to happen through you.

Remember, strategically network and develop friendships with new potential customers first, then market products and work from home business opportunities to them, later on. I Hope this brief article helps. Looking forward to connecting with you.

Article Income Secrets – How to Make Indirect and Direct Profits with Your Articles

Q: I’ve hear you say that you can make both indirect and direct profits from your articles. What’s the difference between the two and how do you do it?

A: While there are those who will tell you that you cannot profit from your articles, let’s start with 3 points about these folks:

1. They are wrong.

2. They are your competition.

3. This is a good thing.

With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at some indirect and some direct methods for profiting with your articles.

Indirect article profits

Indirect is all the traffic and visitors that come to your website from these articles you have out there, and all the inbound links you have from your articles out there. I’ve received new subscribers and added new list members while I have been writing this article.

All you have to do is get one article on EzineArticles.com and you have a link coming in from a website ranked consistently in the top 300 in the world.

Direct article profits

Now the direct way is taking the 7 tips articles or any other articles you write and building it out, expanding and repurposing it into different information products.

A 7 tips article (or any article) can be easily expanded and repurposed into the following information products:

a mini-guide
an ecourse or eprogram
an ebook
a teleseminar
From now on I want you to look at a simple article and see the many information products they can grow into, because that is how you can create your information empire with your articles.