Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Value of a Relationship

You start a new job and you find that one of the folks you're working with clicks with you. You go out to lunch, you chat about your family, the two of you bounce ideas off of one another and share resources.

What's the quantitative value of that relationship?

You might be able to say to someone - "that person's been a colleague and friend for 25 years. We've shared a lot." Maybe you and that person have shaved time and costs off your work by pooling resources and sharing information. But is that *directly* measurable? Can you say, "I ate X number of lunches with Larry, and that translated to Y number of dollars saved?"

Today's post is not about how to measure the ROI of your Social Media Strategy, it's about how you can think differently about the value of relationships. And hopefully this post will encourage you to think as creatively as you can about the value of your relationships with your customers or clients.

Instead of regarding each relationship as a sale, perhaps you can think of your customers as a potential auxiliary marketing or sales force. Every time you you take a moment to speak with a person - face-to-face or online - you are recruiting a potential advocate.

If you have already made a sale, taking time out of your day to talk to that client could equal the value of another sale, when that client is impressed enough to bring a friend to you.

The people who connect with you online were at least motivated to click a button once. With every interaction, try to *at least* motivate them to click a button again. Digg, Retweet, "Like" "Rate this post" - each post you make, each time you talk, are people motivated to *share* that post?

The people who follow you are the people who can tell the world about your business.

Your Social Media Strategy should seek at every turn to turn those people loose on the world to talk about you and your business in the most glowing of terms.

There's no punchline here - the value of each relationship you form is as priceless as you make it.
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