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Relationship-based Marketing

Last November I was a panelist at a conference for government contractors. After my session I was free to attend other sessions and workshops at the conference. I attended one about marketing and listened to two speakers share their advice and counsel. One of the speakers made a huge impression on me and I approached her after the session to get her business card. We later made an appointment for her to come to my office and talk further about her services. We talked for an hour or so and I left the meeting determined to hire her, even though her price tag was more than I ever thought I’d spend for business development support. She took the intangible – support for growing my business – and made it so real I could see/smell/taste it. Not for a moment did I feel like she was trying to sell me something — although of course she was. Just by observing her at the initial conference, and then in the follow-up interactions, I learned so much about marketing professional services. Here are a few things she did that were incredibly effective:

  1. She presented a graphic as part of her briefing at the conference that outlined her unique approach to business development. Her graphic clearly conveyed her philosophy and what I would experience as her client.
  2. She was genuinely interested in my business. In our follow-up emails and conversations, she asked me high-quality questions that let me know she understood the challenges I was facing.
  3. She reached out to me about every two weeks to check in – no hard sell… just a hello.
  4. My sister died about a month after we started working together and I put everything on hold to rest and grieve. Her interactions with me during that time were so human, so sensitive… she demonstrated that she was building a relationship, not just trying to quickly sell me something.
  5. I began to follow her podcast and read her emails, which provided excellent information about government contracting
  6. She offered me extremely valuable feedback, intelligence, and advice on some of the business development questions I had – actionable advice that I would expect to pay a lot of money for. In fact, she made an introduction to a company (another client of hers) and we are teaming on a couple of projects together.
  7. When COVID hit, she contacted me and offered four hours of consulting at no charge. I worked with her on a couple of initiatives, which got me focused during this time of chaos and confusion.

Through all of the items listed above, I was able to experience what it would be like to work with her, which left me with a very strong desire to not just work with her, but to model my own behavior after hers.

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