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Why Your Business Needs To Focus On Relationships More and On Money Less

hamster-wheel.jpgEvery business owner wants to make more money.

Doesn’t matter whether you sell products or pitch a service – you probably want more clients, customers, buyers, patrons, consumers, subscribers, users, etc. Doesn’t matter what you call them – you’d like more.

After all, doesn’t more subscribers equal more people to market too? More patrons mean increasing sales? And increased sales equals more revenue. Isn’t that how it works?

Most of us know that. Yet many business owners set their focus too strongly on increasing revenue. They spend their time, their energy and their resources focused on making more money. And so they become like a hamster running around the wheel of trying to increase their profits – often, getting nowhere.

But what if you took some of that time to build relationships with your clients and customers? What if you took some time to build relationships with some of your leads? Better yet, what if you spent some time and resources to build relationships with other business owners? Businesses that compliment yours in one way or another. Or grew relationships with other business owners you have other interests in common with? What could happen?

What could happen is that you find yourself with more work than you can imagine.

As I’ve said now for years – people do business with people, not businesses. So business, ultimately, is about relationships. So when you focus on the relationships in and around your business, you’re paying into the greatest resource you have at your disposal – people.

It’s people who…

  • …are your clients, customers and patrons
  • …are your leads and prospects
  • …are paying for your products and services
  • …you’re in business to serve
  • …tell their friends about you
  • …become return customers
  • …refer you business
  • …use and evaluate your products and services
  • …write reviews of your products and services
  • …want to partner with you on future projects
  • …whose problems your business can solve
  • …read and comment on your blog
  • …recommend your site on Digg, Mixx, StumbleUpon and other social link sites
  • …who want to connect with you on Facebook, MyBlogLog and LinkedIn
  • …who become your affiliates
  • …your business needs
  • and finally, it’s people who need what you offer.

So your business is about people. You need people to run your business. And you need people to increase your revenue. So why not focus on creating relationships with people?

How are you focusing on relationships in your business? How has it changed your business?

And what’s one thing you’ve wanted to create to build relationships in your business that you haven’t gotten too yet?

(note: image from edyperesfoto on Flickr)

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Comments

  1. Just be careful you don’t go too far the other way. I once had a salesman that had a great relationship with every single prospect. They loved him. They just never bought anything. Relationships have to be a two-way street.

  2. Dawud, This one simple ‘selling technique’ of connecting with your potential customers is the basis of my workshops on Holistic Marketing. I love that you’ve made a list of how your customer can come back and help you. And then of course, I’ve got lots of places I want to connect more fully with my clients….. a monthly networking group here in my town would be fun….

  3. Most of my business comes from referrals.

    If it weren’t for my relationships I virtually wouldn’t have a business.

    Can’t live with out them!

  4. Michelle,
    Monthly networking group does sound great. I may start something here too.

    Brett,
    I understand. I’ve built both my businesses the same way. What have you found to be the most useful way to keep in touch with, for instance, past clients?

  5. Dawud, As usual you’re spot on with this one. I’m with Brett, I’d have no business but for the relationships I’ve got. Right now I want to focus on being more responsive.

    It is easy for things to snowball out of control fast. I’m wrestling to find the balance between doing and relating.

  6. mike ashworth says:

    Great post. Relationships are how everyone used to do business many years ago before all the technology got in the way. amazing how things go full circle.

    Interestingly, a friend of mine, has just started a new position, marketing and selling office space in a new business in our local area. It’s situated in a business park. My suggestion was that one of the actions they can take is to get out and go and personally introduce themselves to all the other businesses around them.

    might take a day or so, but it’s a worthwhile investment as I have found that many small business owners often know others and this can lead to referrals.

    Mike Ashworth
    Business Coaching and Consultancy
    Brighton and Hove, sussex, UK

  7. Most of my business comes from referrals and networking, but my biggest challenge now is to devote the necessary time to sustaining relationships. It’s very important to stay close to customers, especially now when business conditions are deteriorating. Sometimes I have to remind myself that calling a client just to say hello and get caught up is just as important (more important?) than the actual project work.

  8. It’s all about relationship with people, you’re right.

    There’s nothing that happens without good relationships with people.

    I’ve seen marketers who only do JV with those who provide the greatest money although the product is not all that great. They’re ruining reputation which is bad for their business.

    Aggressive marketing without providing value is killing the business on the long run.

  9. Chris,
    I hear you. You can spend lots of time getting to know people than on building your business. What do you do to balance your relationship building with your business growth needs?

    Mike,
    I know…it is the way businesses used to be. That’s before big box stores and strip malls. And now the web is giving this back to us. Isn’t it refreshing?

    Don,
    So true! It’s important to discern where to spend your time with the needs of your family, life and business.

    How do you keep this straight?

    Brad,
    Of course what you’re saying is correct. Yet, could there be a solution in changing how you do your business? Especially financially?

    Hendry
    Without a doubt. Don’t you think that if you don’t don’t focus on relationships, and only on money, you’re going to eventually run out of customers?

  10. Hi Dawud – we always keep in touch regularly with our customers by letter and phone. And not just to try to sell them. We send them small gifts and helpful info. It reminds them we’re still there and we don’t just see them as a cash cow.

    Also, we always call them after the sale just to make sure they’re happy, so that they know we actually care.

  11. mike ashworth says:

    here are two examples of companies who get this right and wrong.

    I have a laptop from a company in the uk called evesham http://www.evesham.com purchased about a year and a half ago.

    Despite some trading issues I was assured a few months ago that there would be no problems with either the extended warranty or replacement bits like batteries etc

    dateline now: the laptop battery needs replacing, emailed them, and they said they don’t have any, don’t know where they can source any, and don’t know if they will ever be able to do so. I expressed my disappointment with this in my reply only to be greeted with exactly the same message again. No apology or anything. I now have a very expensive laptop (over £1000 / $2000) that can’t be used without a power cable!

    Their website claims they have award winning service based on awards in 2006. I don’t think that’s the case anymore! Personally it’s the service now that matters not two years ago.

    cost of this conversation to them. effectively nothing due to email response.

    I have a pair of sunglasses purchased from a local optician a year or so ago (they have prescription lenses). I noticed that one of the pieces of plastic that rest against the side of your nose had come off and also looks like the frame might have been squished slightly as their was a slight gap above one of the lenses.

    I took the glasses into the shop yesterday, they sorted out a new plastic bit on the spot, took the lens out, reshaped the metal above and put it back in. offered to pay, they said don’t worry however you will need to bring them back in, in a cpl of weeks to have the frame properly straightened. left with a smile on my face. net cost to them probably £1 and 5 minutes of their time.

    Which of the two above do you think will get my repeat business and that I will also feel happy about referring to others. Without realising it the optician is doing great business taking into consideration customer lifetime value and customer referral value. I will of course never purchase a laptop from evesham again or recommend them to others.

  12. I’ve read that a healthy business has approximately 25% repeat customers. Think of how less hard a business owner would have to work getting new customers if he/she had this. Thanks for the great post!

  13. Its true that relationships are important, especially if it is a sevice you are rendering rather than a product you sell/manuracture. Because, the relationship with your client or customer is actually part of the service in a way.

  14. Catherine,
    Yes…I love it. Of course if you’re keeping in touch with your customers you’re doing so to create more business. Yet, if the relationship is give-give then there can be balance. I try to remember that people want and need what I have to offer. And they have what I need. And if it’s about relationships, at that level, and not just about making money, there can be a very healthy and balanced relationship that’s mutually beneficial. Don’t you think?

    Mike,
    These are great examples. Thanks for sharing them. The one thing I can’t understand, and maybe you do, is how do companies think they’re serving their customers in situations like the laptop company?

    Rebel8,
    Yep. And what’s the percentage of referral business is seen in a healthy business?

    Living Rooms,
    And, as with Mike’s example above, shows an example of a product-oriented company not caring for the relationship with customers. Don’t they got it?

  15. mike ashworth says:

    This is the thing re the laptop company, I cannot comprehend why they would wish to treat someone as they have. Someone who had purchased a high value item and would have kept purchasing their brand in the future if they hadn’t encountered these difficulties.

    If they were hoping to try and trade their way out of trouble as a firm then they are going about it in completely the wrong way.

    I havee got to to take my hat off though to the company that finally sorted a battery out for me. http://www.computerbatteries.co.uk Ordered yesterday, early afternoon ,arrived midday today.

    great service, great follow up. even told me about a website created by one of the folks who works there about how to keep the battery in great working order too. they’ll be getting repeat customers and referrals, as appropriate.

    Perhaps their was a time when I’d let these firms treat me poorly as a customer, no longer. I will blog about these things, post here and there, and as the phrase goes “their is no delete key in cyberspace”. The negative comments about a firm are out in the open for people to read and also cached away for a very long time also.

    The one thing I encourage people to do is to go out of your way to praise good service when you receive it.

    Mike Ashworth
    Business Coaching and Consultancy
    Brighton and Hove, Sussex, UK

  16. “It is easy for things to snowball out of control fast. I’m wrestling to find the balance between doing and relating.”

    Yes, I agree. The most important thing is to find a balance. And – check your books regurarly. And being a realist also helps a lot. Thanks for a good article – it is really a nice blog. Good Luck!

  17. Good relationship with people bring me always many clients, and these clients bring me new clients and good relationships with more and more people.

  18. You’re right! In a business world, it’s a give and take relationship. First thing you should put into consideration is your customer. If you build a better relationship with them, more revenues will come your way.

  19. Mike,
    I hear you. It’s one of the things that makes blogging so powerful – the ability to reach a large audience with the good and bad experiences we get from companies.

    zephyr7,
    Without a doubt. I have a teacher who once said, ‘have trust…and tether your camel.’

    Mark,
    Don’t you think this is one of the obviously hidden keys to business success?

    Andrew,
    Yeah, it’s true. Focusing on the relationship will create more revenue than focusing on money.

  20. Agree it’s about people and relationships primarily, but one can’t lose sight of the bottom line either.

    Reality is the bottom line takes less work than the other, and because it’s less work, people tend to obsess over it.

    Most of us with small to medium sized business’s realize this, but most of the big guys forgot long ago.

    That’s why the market is so nuts these days with folks poring over latest quarter results to be sure they always go up.

    What they forget is that if they’d remember to focus a bit more on customers, those bottom line numbers would end up much healthier.

  21. I was recently watching a movie where they interviewed Ben from Ben & Jerry’s who said:

    “The goal of a business is to meet the need, to create the product, not to make money. You make money as a by product of meeting a need and doing a great job of it.”

    This is a great article and I’m glad Sara posted your article to Sproutwire.

  22. That’s true. If you maintain your relationships, the money will follow.

  23. Relationships are important, but people will still ditch you in half a second for a better price.

  24. j2watches,
    That’s the balance. It can’t just be about relationships while you’re giving away the store. It has to be balanced between earnings and people. But to focus on people can change how you earn money.

    shane,
    Great piece from my favorite ice cream czars.

    Dining Room,
    Why do you think more people don’t get this?

    Gymboss,
    Oh, not true. I have a very loyal client base who has continued to pay my fees as they’ve gone up. The reason…they know, without a doubt, that I will look after their best interests. And for that piece of mind, they don’t care about paying a bit more.

  25. I think that people forget that business is personal – very personal. Customer service is one of the most important aspects of business today; In a time where a lot of service is so animated and robotic, finding a company that will respond to ones needs not only quickly, but in a personal matter, is a great find. I believe that allowing oneself to become invested in client’s success can only provide greater success for both parties.

  26. Money is important in life but relationships are even more important. If today I have a good relationship with my visitors and good content on my site, I will get money. But money if made the soul reason to make a site then the site looses it’s warmth.

  27. Kelly Martin says:

    relationships are to to haven a great business.
    http://www.livingeasyat40.info

  28. What a great post. May I ask if you are a consultant of some sort. With out getting to personal what else to you do for a living?

  29. Interactive Marketing,
    I agree. It’s important to remember that people work with other people. And how those relationships are managed makes all the difference.

    And I fully agree with your point about becoming invested in your client’s success, By what manners do you become vested?

    Eva,
    Not only to life, but to business as well.

    Paul,
    Interesting you should ask…

    My blog explains much more about what I do than my ‘web design’ pages of the site. In a nutshell, I help business increase greatly increase revenues – with a focus on the web. So I serve as a coach/consultant/guide/teacher/advisor/etc. I’ve done this for years, just hidden under being a web designer. In the coming weeks you’ll see much more about my business as I remove my cloak and come out in the sun.

    And if you’d like to talk about how I could help your business specifically, shoot me an email and we can schedule a time to talk.

    Kelly,
    Yeppers.

  30. Relationships foster respect and friendship and can actually bring you more business than advertising.

  31. The College Review Guy says:

    There’s a great book that follows on to this discussion pretty closely – it’s called ‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcom Gladwell.

    The focus of the book is really grass-roots marketing and understanding how ‘fads’ are created and sustained, but it’s a great read in terms of understanding and managing business relationships as well.

  32. Hi Dawud,

    Great Post! We should focus on the relationships with our existing customers and potential buyers.

    People say ‘The money is in the list.’ It is not totally true. The money is in your relationship with the list!

    Yetti

  33. mike ashworth says:

    I love blogs like this, it gives an opportunity to throw ideas, thoughts, observations around between people who occupy a similar space.

    Mike Ashworth
    Business Coaching and Consultancy
    Brighton and Hove, Sussex, UK

  34. networking online and also networking in real life, both are going together is very important.
    The problem is much more about time than about money now…

  35. Real life friendship have clearly an impact in your online networking, beyond expectations.

  36. Good relationship brings more client.

  37. I love this quote by Zig Ziglar.
    If you help enough people get what they want, you can have everything in life that you want.

  38. Relationship is one of the most important things in business.

  39. Kyrie Bridgewater says:

    Hi Dawud,
    Excellent, excellent article! I’m a firm believer of building relationships with your visitors.
    I believe it is one of the key factors of a successful business.
    I’ve found that as you build relationships with your visitors/subscribers, as you respond to them, give them some valuable free content even, they’ll keep coming back.

    They’ll also be much more willing to order through your links because of the trust they’ve developed with you.

    I tried it the other way before, trust me, it didn’t work!

    Kyrie Bridgewater

  40. Yes very true

    Relationships are much more important as in the long run that is what brings you the money!

  41. Most of my business comes from referrals and networking, but my biggest challenge now is to devote the necessary time to sustaining relationships. It’s very important to stay close to customers, especially now when business conditions are deteriorating. Sometimes I have to remind myself that calling a client just to say hello and get caught up is just as important (more important?) than the actual project work.

  42. Its really a nice ideas to interact with peoples, and make good relationship, this will definitely useful for business.

  43. Dell batteries says:

    Relationships are how everyone used to do business many years ago before all the technology got in the way. Customer service is one of the most important aspects of business today; nice article.

  44. Online Community Software says:

    One of the most powerful ways to encourage strong client/customer relationships is by integrating social networking software right into your website. This gives you both the engagement your customers want as well as market research that you need.

  45. It does make sense. When your drive is not much focused on earning money but more on building a relationship with your clients, what might happen is that customers will become satisfied since are being cared for. They can act as your advertising tool as well promoting your business at no cost to you.

  46. yeah that is cent percent true. This is the reason why major business invest more on customer care sector and care their customers and clients always. Relationship is the major key for successful business.

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  1. Facebook » Why Your Business Needs To Focus On Relationships More and Money Less says:

    […] Dawud Miracle @ dmiracle.com – wrote an interesting post today on Why Your Business Needs To Focus On Relationships More and Money LessHere’s a quick excerpt Every business owner wants to make more money. Doesn’t matter whether you sell products or pitch a service – you probably want more clients, customers, buyers, patrons, consumers, subscribers, users, etc. Doesn’t matter what you call them – you’d like more. After all, doesn’t more subscribers equal more people to market too? More patrons mean increasing sales? And increased sales equals more revenue. Isn’t that how it works? Most of us know that. Yet many business owners set their focus too […]

  2. […] the meantime show a past customer how much you appreciate, through out the year, their business and that you couldn’t be where you are today with out […]

  3. […] Why Your Business Needs To Focus On Relationships More and On Money Less […]

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    […] Why Your Business Needs To Focus On Relationships More and On Money Less – Dawud Miracle @ dmiracle….: “” […]

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