Working in a tax firm for some time has taught me quite a few things about the importance of B2B marketing. Although a tax office isn’t exactly like being backstage, considering an efile or CPA doesn’t rip out those amazing solos, with the Rolling Stones, there are still some important lessons that the charming Sir Mick could teach us all about the world of B2B marketing (there’s more to it than partying, you know?)
Creating and building strong business relationships is vital in today’s recession-based economy. In order to create new business contacts, try a little tenderness in lieu of the fast paced, instant gratification business world. Think of building new business contacts as a first date (and you as Mick Jagger) when approaching new networking opportunities. Here are a few tips to help you build strong business relationships with the charm of a rock star.
1) Make a connection. B2B marketers often struggle to separate themselves from everyone else. So what makes you stand out when it comes to another business? Find common ground with your new client, make a connection. What music do they like? What are their hobbies? In order to stand out to someone else, try to create the idea of “connectdeness” with them. This creates an instant “link” in your client’s mind that 1) you understand them and 2) they can trust you.
2) Pay a compliment. The old proverb, “One gets more flies with honey than vinegar” should be a staple in your marketing strategy. Applaud your client’s business in a sincere and genuine way and they will never forget it. Show that you appreciate the effort they have put into their business and you’re letting them know you will appreciate them in them in the future.
3) Show preparation. You (hopefully) wouldn’t show up to a date without taking a shower and putting on some nice clothes, why would you contact a client without doing your homework? Find out about the client you’re interested in working with and you show both your intention to “impress” them and a decided edge over competitors that approach anyone and everyone for contacts. Preparation is a sign that you are ready, willing, and able to bring something to the table.
4) Listen. There’s nothing worse than going on a first date with someone that won’t stop talking about themselves. It comes across as arrogant at best, and insecure at its’ worst. When it comes to B2B marketing the same rule applies. Listen to your client, find out what’s important to them, find out where they want to be in the future and how you can be a part of that. This will not only save them but you a lot of time as well. My grandmother always said that “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason”. So, try to listen to your client twice as much as you speak. Which leads to #5.
5) Speak accordingly. You have been listening, right? Now is the time to speak accordingly to what your client needs and wants from you. If your date likes “bad boys” you wouldn’t bring up your mother (mama’s boy, anyone?) so don’t bring up subjects that your client doesn’t seem to be interested in. Is your client looking to expand? Work on efficiency in the office? Find out what your client is looking for and respond with thoughtful and applicable information about yourself.
6) Be respectful and patient, not pushy. Take things step by step when making contacts. There’s nothing worse than a pushy (and selfish) date and nothing guarantees failure like trying too hard. Take your time when making contacts, help them feel at ease and in control and you are much more apt to be successful when making business contacts. Of course you want to make contacts (so do they) so don’t come across as desperate now and you won’t be in the future.
7) Follow-up. So you had a great first date, now what? Well, follow up! Nevermind whatever silly “3 day” rule you might have, get in touch with your client soon. Let them know you appreciate their time and consideration. Tell them how much “fun” you had and don’t forget to mention a connection or inside joke you made. You’ve come so close, don’t let your client slip away out of worry or concern that you come across as “needy” or “desperate”. If you’ve been following the guidelines thus far, you’re in a prime position to continue your relationship with your new client (you charming devil, you).
8) Confidence. Finally, in the dating world as well as B2B marketing, confidence is key. Do you think Mick Jagger got his reputation as a ladies’ man based on his good looks? He got his swagger the same way you will, with confidence in yourself and your business. There is alot to be said for carrying yourself (and your business) with dignity and posture. Stand up straight, hold your head up high, and take pride in what you have to offer to your client and you will be amazed at the results you’ll get (even if karaoke is the only time you’ll sing Satisfaction).
About the Guest Post Author: Paul Lynch is a freelance writer based out of Greensboro, NC. He went to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he majored in English and Psychology. He has spent time in the U.K. as well as Spain, the Netherlands, and Ireland. He can be found on a blog post near you.