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Sales Are Driven By Relationships Not Ads

How do you communicate with your current customers? Do you only send them mail when you’re launching a new product or email them when there’s an upgrade to purchase? Have you taken a good hard look at what you communicate and how often you communicate it? Is it all BUY, BUY, BUY?

If so, that’s a prescription for buyer fatigue. The reality is that sales are driven by relationships not broadcasted advertisements.

In many ways, this is nothing new. Years ago, when I took over as director of membership development for a professional association I encountered similar outreach attitudes. The only time the association sent a message to a member was when their membership was about to expire. For first year members, the communication path was to send an overwhelmingly large welcome packet (or the “hernia kit” as it was jokingly termed) and little else until their membership expiration notice nine months later. As you can imagine, that did nothing to build the kind of engagement necessary to guide that new member toward renewing for a second year. Does this sound familiar?

When I entered, we assessed the plan but we did more that just retool around specific objectives. We knew what we wanted: renewals. What was missing from the prior plan was what our members actually wanted. They wanted value, they wanted a relationship with the association, they wanted to be recognized as more than a walking wallet.

Take a look at how your company is building relationships with your customers. If your only communicating more ways for customers to buy, then you’re likely not cultivating the long-term relationships necessary to generate more sales to your current base. And this is a base that – if they’re wildly engaged and passionately loyal to your company – are going to spur referrals.