Being Bruce -: Relationship Marketing Tip #12 – Bi-Annual Checkups

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Relationship Marketing Tip #12 – Bi-Annual Checkups

Here's a secret that can give a double boost to your business relationships. Twice a year, check in with your established contacts about their businesses. Just call or visit (if you e-mail a request it can come across negatively) to find out what’s new with their company, service, or practice.

Please don't confuse this suggestion with the everyday, "What business are you in?" query. I'm referring to a request for more in-depth content and analysis.

When you ask a business contact about their business progress, plans, or challenges, you are turning the attention on them and away from you. When they trust you, many folks are more than happy to tell you all about what's going on with their company. The reason this is a double-win is 1. you let them talk about their favorite topic (themselves) and 2. the content of the discussion - you have the chance to learn ways you can help the business or the people involved. Arguably the first reason is the more important.

This technique, as powerful as it can be, isn't one that I recommend at all on first meeting or when you're still getting to know a new business contact. If you come on strong at a first or early encounter asking about how someone's business is doing it likely won't feel right to them. It very possibly will feel intrusive, impersonal, and possibly like a trap of some sort. So wait until you actually have a good relationship before asking this question. And then don't do it just once and forget it. If it feels natural and is appreciated by your contacts, ask them at least twice a year for an overview of how their business is doing.