No matter what you are selling or service you provide, your business is about relationships. Your relationships to your vendors and customers. Your place in your community. Your customer’s relationship with your product or service. How your product promotes your customer’s success in their community… these are the heart of everything in your business… the sum of these relationships is your brand. [What is a brand?]
To be clear, the community here isn’t necessarily where you live. It’s your industry, it’s people who think and act like you, your social circle, or whatever grouping that describes your audience.
Simon Sinek said,
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
And even more telling:
“People don’t buy products; they buy better versions of themselves.”
Or stated another way, a customer buys because of how they FEEL about themselves when they buy your product or use your service. This relationship is everything. People don’t love people (and products and brands); they love how they feel about themselves when they’re with them.
Sometimes these motivators subtle, even unconscious, decision-makers. Customers might rationalize their choices on a logical level, but deep down the drivers are emotional: “I buy because I like supporting local businesses and feel guilty about my trips to Walmart.” “I shop there because they treat me nice, make me feel special.” “I love that brand because it indicates to others that ‘I’ve made it’ and that feels good.” “Buying that one makes me feel like I’m smart for choosing it.”
You might think that having the lowest price is your business advantage. Or the product with the most features. Your product sells itself! Value propositions like these are important, but aren’t everything; customers will often consider these details after they’ve already made a decision to help them feel good about it. Overcoming this kind of emotion with logic is difficult, if not impossible.
4 Simple Ways To Build Relationships
- Bring together other people in your community.
Not just in a way you’ll directly benefit. People feel important when you introduce them to others and appreciate that you made it easier for them to connect. This also increases the chances they’ll think to connect you with others too.
- Pay attention to people who engage with you online.
If someone has mentioned you in a post, shared your link, or commented on your blog, they’ve given you an invitation to engage. Reciprocate in kind (on the same platform) and be generous with your attention. Your audience and their’s profits from this interaction. Let customers know that you appreciate them. This costs you little (a bit of time) and delivers an outsized benefit to both. Related to this: get out an comment on a blog or post everyday.
- Give away something for free.
Free makes it easy to say ‘yes’. Free helps build awareness, encourages sharing, and creates a bit of social obligation. Free gets your product into a customer’s hand who other wouldn’t pick it up.
- Don’t just sell, teach.
Create opportunities to deliver value to your customer that aren’t focused on you, your product, or your bottom line. Host a workshop relevant to your community. Write articles (like this one!). Even sharing useful content that other have made will demonstrate your worth.