There is a currency in business that has more value than dollars or Bitcoin. It’s relationship currency. As a business owner, marketplace, or ministry leader, you want to increase your relationship currency. Do this first with your team, next with your clients or donors and also with your prospects, people who fit the parameters of your target audience who for whatever reason have not made the jump to do business with you.
Relationship currency leads to wonderful things like positive testimonials and reviews about you on your website or their social media. Relationship currency translates into customers sticking with you even when you mess up or fail to deliver on a promise. Relationship currency is what creates referrals. Referrals are typically the most lucrative way to obtain new clients. Relationship currency stimulates word-of-mouth endorsements and will enhance any brand.
But relationship currency cannot be bought. It has to be earned. Here are keys to build your relationship currency.
Time – Relationships don’t form overnight. They take time. How often do your customers and prospects hear from you? Is it only when you are trying to sell them something or get something from them? Social media is a great way to start a relationship. However, I think it’s difficult to build a relationship through social media. This is why we encourage our clients to work hard at capturing email contact information on every person within their target audience. The limited space and number of characters you have in social media is just too shallow to build any sort of in-depth relationship. So take consistent time to grow your relationships with both prospects and clients.
Listen – Relationships never work when only one person does all the talking. Make sure you provide your team, your customers, and even your prospects with ample opportunity to express themselves. Ask them questions. Don’t assume you know them. Listen to what they tell you or maybe aren’t telling you.
Familiarity – Let’s face it, we like to hang out with people we like, people who like us. How do people get to like each other? It starts by doing things together or finding common interests, common ways of thinking. Familiarity requires being vulnerable. Look at your website. Listen to your presentations. How likable are you? How hard do you look to find places, interests, values, attitudes, and beliefs that you share in common with your market? Building familiarity is a key to building relationship currency.
Trust – Trust is what backs a relationship, much like the way we used to have gold back up the valuation of our currency. How do you build trust? It starts by keeping your word, doing what you say you will do. But trust grows when you don’t just meet expectations, you exceed them. What are ways that you can do more than what your customers expect? How can you go the extra mile, do the unexpected?
Ask yourself how well you are doing, how hard are you working at building your relationship currency. I promise you the more you invest in this currency, the greater return on that investment you will have in the way of customer loyalty and increased business.