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There are no secrets to success, just great relationships

There are no secrets to success, just great relationships

Back in the mid 1990s, having walked out of university ready to earn big money in journalism, I was rudely awakened by the difficulty to get a job in the industry. So, like any self respecting 20-something, I took any job I could and became a shoe salesman while I trawled job ads for my chosen profession.

I was Al Bundy at the tail end of Al Bundy’s great Married With Children TV run; before the brilliant Ed O’Neill became the old man on Modern Family. Now, I have never considered myself a salesperson, but I did okay and the easiest sales came because of an immediate rapport built with customers. I really wasn’t selling anything, I was just having a chat to someone whose interests matched mine, or whose personality was appealing. I think they bought from me because of the very fact that I wasn’t selling to them, and of course they needed a pair of shoes.

That experience made me believe that no matter what the job, success is based on building relationships.

Now, I don’t know much about this marketing game, (although I am learning fast) but what I do know is that same philosophy applies; that any marketing campaign is about building relationships. In fact any transaction is a relational one, whether it be business, sport, sales or any other industry.

The thing about marketing is that it is so dense; there are so many ways to build relationships that how do you know what will matter, or what will be superfluous to your end goal?

EDMs, social media (building likes and followers) and even PR, it all applies. You just have to pick and choose what campaigns will work best for particular clients. What process will build the best relationships and make them stick.

There is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, which rings true of all relationships, but may definitely be applied to sales and marketing: “We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all.”

How many times has a salesperson or marketing professional taken a subdued approach to a campaign because they fear rejection; they believe that what they are doing has a care factor of close to zero for the person they are trying to reach.

I’d guess that most of us have had that attitude once or twice in our lives.

The reality, however, is the more you care the better chance you have of reaching someone. The more interest you show in a client and their clients, your loved ones and even people who think their feet will fit in a particular shoe, the more interest you’ll receive no matter what your method of communication. 

There are occasions this won’t work. During High School, I was a cleaner. I’d get up at 5am, go to work, clean toilets and factory floors and then go to school. It was a hard knock life, but taught me the value of hard work. Of course, relationships in the early hours with surly factory workers who’d been working all night are nigh impossible. The only relationships they care about at that time are the ones with the their clean, dry towels, but that’s another story.

The point is relationships are the key to everything. So try and build solid relationships with everyone you come into contact with, because life can be so rewarding when you connect

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comment ( 1 )
  • Matt Hayden
    Matt Hayden
    22 Jan 2015

    An old school friend of mine who is now a very successful real estate agent recently said "people buy stuff from people they like". It struck me as being so true.

    And I realized why he'd become so successful himself. He's a genuinely nice guy who enjoys helping people. People warm to him easily.

    That doesn't mean that you have to have natural charisma and likeability to succeed (although of course that helps). You've just got to find a way to connect sincerely with others that you feel comfortable with. Once you've got that everything becomes a whole lot easier.