How Relationships Improve Sales

glynne soaps I was in the shower yesterday morning and found myself thinking, “we’re almost out of Glynne soaps.” Now, what’s weird about this is that Glynne soaps sent me review products last summer, and it was good, but let’s think about it. It’s soap. I can buy soap very easily at my grocery store, where I go all the time. Why should I have Glynne Soaps in my mind? Why should I buy them?

Relationships Help Sell

It doesn’t hurt that the product is really good, but what made them come to mind was all the times we’ve chatted on Twitter, and/or seeing their social media conversations unfurl on Facebook and other platforms. They’re friendly. They’re part of the story. They’re here.

It’s not enough, obviously. Being around and chatting with me on Twitter doesn’t help if your product stinks. But here’s where it helped: when I realized that I was almost out of soap, they were top of mind.

How Do You Stay There?

I think this is the meat of most marketing. How do you stay top of mind with your customer? Let’s stick with soap. I’ll presume you use it daily (or mostly daily), but it’s not something that you think about.

In the old days, advertisers kept a brand top of mind by repeatedly pushing ads into our vision. Axe spends tons and tons convincing me that their products will make women go wild if I use them. Dove tells you that you’ll be very beautiful if you use them. Soap, of all products, is well known for working hard on staying top of mind. Remember the “soap” in “soap operas?”

To stay top of mind in the modern space, I think you have to be there. You have to be one of us. At least part of it is that. I can’t see Ford throwing away their campaigns and just count on Scott Monty to build relationships (though he’s definitely wearing the Ford colors in a powerful way). But it has to be both.

The Difference Might Be the “Both”

If you’re Glynne Soaps, you can’t pay for full spread magazine ads and soap operas. You can spend time on social platforms meeting people, talking to them about their stuff (and not just soap). Maybe you don’t pick up the ad campaign for a while, but that would be at an inflection point.

If you’re big, you do both. Ads alone don’t cut it. If you’re Pepsi, you maybe do the campaign, but you also put the humans in the game (like Bonin Bough and team).

It depends on the product, I believe. There are “commodity” transactions where I don’t care. But the other thing is, we all have different opinions on what we care about or don’t. For instance, I don’t really care who changes the oil in my car, but because of my conversations with Sullivan Tire on Twitter, that’s where I’ll probably go because they’re top of mind.

What Can We Do?

I think it’s a choice. I think that if you’re a bigger brand, you have more to think about. If you’re a smaller brand, this almost feels like a “must” at this point, trying out social media conversation channels. You might not get the mix right. You might have to experiment until you find what gets people to respond and take action in a relationship-minded way. But without starting to experiment, you won’t find it.

Will soap companies that make relationships on Twitter clean up? I’ve got a hunch they’ll do better than not. But is it all just a matter of working us up into a good lather? I don’t think so.

Start by observing other brands in other verticals and how they’re getting it done. Then experiment. Try making relationships before trying to sell. And be ready to apologize. You will likely make mistakes. But I think there’s some gold in this, done right.

Want some people to observe? On Twitter, check out:

@Glynnesoaps
@RSHotel
@SullivanTire

And maybe you. Are you a smaller brand building relationships one at a time? Brag it up in the Twitter feed.

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  • http://www.zoombits.de/computer-zubehoer/laptop-taschen laptop taschen

    Hi,
    A marketing touch occurs whenever the business comes into contact with a potential or existing customer.I personally believe a marketing strategy should include a plan to exploit the benefits of actively managing customer contacts as that helps ensure business success and more sales.

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  • markgillard

    Great post Chris..and thanks so much for the mention! I totally agree with your premise here. Relationships are huge and particularly important if your selling a commodity. I think that's always been the case, and the social media tools are a great resource for building trust and becoming “one of us”

  • http://twitter.com/smashadv Jim Mitchem

    I like this topic. And agree 100% that relationships beget sales. But not just in the dialogue a brand has here with its constituency. We can go back farther in the relationship – to where a customer physically interacts with the brand. Like with your soap. If the soap left a rancid film on your skin, you've still developed a relationship – just not a very good one. A quality relationship starts by delivering on a promise of value. Good products sell themselves. And when a quality brand makes a sincere attempt to engage its audience and develop a real relationship, they get a chance to deliver. It's a win all the way around.

  • http://www.tgapgeorge.com TGAPGeorge

    Hahahhahahaha “get us all lathered up” about Glynne soap!

    Love it,

    George

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  • sisterlisa

    Another good article, Chris. I agree and most especially about apologizing. We all make mistakes, but giving genuine apologies is key to keeping the relationships. Along with a genuine apology is a good reconciliation offer. ;O)

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  • http://www.zoombits.co.uk/memory-cards/sd-card sdhc

    It does absolutely. What we need to do is just put the customer needs from us apart from a sale. When we would be a customer we would know our needs and requirements and sell it accordingly, behave it accordingly and we have a huge loads of sale.

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  • http://www.yuregininsesi.com yuregininsesi

    I was at the checkout of my equal least favourite supermarket mouth open that I had spent over 50% of my two bags of shopping on liquid soap (powder). If I were in small market I would have joshed and left with a smile, if I were using the Casino-Mail carrier we have here I would have rolled my eyes as I realise that it is 50-50 whether my parcel arrives, if I am at John Lewis UK and I don't get good service (NEVER HAPPENED) I realise that I can instantly return the item. I find it is easier to judge in real life, starting with the shop window.

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    Every day, there are those who buy from Merchant A over Merchant B because they want their money spent on widgets sold by Merchant A to pay for Merchant A’s kids’ college tuition. They have a relationship with Merchant A. They want to reward Merchant A for being a solid, trustworthy business.

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