Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Relationship Based Personal Marketing

This is a personal story.

In 2003, I returned to the world of advertising after a sabbatical in plastics, publishing, and automotive manufacturing.

I was back in my home town, having returned to Fort Wayne in 1998, but when I joined the group of radio stations I work for on Lower Huntington Road, I had never done radio sales in this town. My previous experience was in Detroit.

So, I needed to meet business owners and decision makers. I did what most people did. Grabbed the Yellow Pages and started calling to make appointments. Not much fun.

So I hit the road and knocked on doors to schedule appointments. I was better at this.

But after about 6 months with moderate success, I came accross a local electriain that had a small informal networking group and he asked if I would come and speak to him and his friends.

A few days later, after being introduced to the room of business owners, I did my stuff.
Except it wasn't exactly what they were expecting.

See, they thought I was going to tell them all about my radio stations and try and sell them on radio advertising. Instead I gave them something they could use right away.

I talked about marketing.
I talked about their telephone.
I talked about what their customers wanted when they called.
Together we discovered that this small group of business owners could increase their business by 20 to 50% if they just changed their phone habits, so that they would be easier for their customers to do business with.

Later some of those business owners came to me for more advice on marketing and advertising and some spent money with me on my radio stations. All of them remain friends.

A few months later, I was invited to be a guest at a B.N.I. Networking group. This was a very well organized and committed group of business professionals and I joined this group and was a member for 3 years until other commitments prevented me from attending. I still use some of the members services and recommend them to others.

About 2 years ago I started attending a couple of local networking groups and met even more people. The last two years when I have attended our communities annual business expo, I have people come up to me that I've met at various networking functions over the past 5 years.

I now divide my time to between giving and serving; and selling. Oh, I still do prospecting, and with the current economy that is just as important as ever. But I find that the relationships that began a few years ago by my giving have been stronger than those where I was just selling.

This is my marketing plan and it works. I urge you to develop a marketing plan that involves relationship building through giving and serving and see how it helps you too.

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