Posted on 18 Dec 02
In writing the introduction to Relationship Aspect Marketing, I found myself drawn continually towards the most personal of all relationships--one with your spouse or significant other. Remember the intoxication of the initial romance? Yet the test of the relationship is co-existence the morning after and after and after.
If we dissect a successful long-term relationship of the spousal variety, we find some simple truths:
1. Each partner supports and encourages the other to be the very best. They want their partner to succeed and to find happiness.
2. Each partner makes concessions to the other. They know that relationships mean compromise. No one can "have it their way" all the time.
3. Each partner makes an active effort to avoid taking the other for granted. They know that their role entails consideration and respect, always looking out for the other's best interests and ever-thankful for the little niceties the other provides.
4. Sometimes a partner has to sacrifice their interests in the best interests of the other. They know that a meaningful relationship can be destroyed by selfish self-interest. Sometimes that have to give up their wants in order to support the other's needs from the perspective of what is best for the overall relationship in the long run.
5. They tackle problems together. They know that life can throw us a curve ball and that the power of two is exponentially greater than the power of one.
6. They share their joys and their sorrows. They acknowledge the truth that "no man is an island". They know that shared joys are doubled and shared sorrows halved.
7. The look for ways to surprise each other. They know that the relationship can become stale after the initial romance, so they look for ways to "spice it up".
8. Each expresses their feelings and respects the feelings of the other. They are cognizant that there can be difficulties within a relationship, but are committed to working through any problems that might arise.
9. Each serves the other. They know that the overall health of the relationship is dependent upon their individual health (emotional, physical and spiritual) and position themselves to be of service to each other.
10. They explore opportunities together. They understand that exploration of new ideas is exciting and they each take an active part in researching potentials and developing plans for the future.
Much like the old "Love is…." cartoons, these ten concepts might be overly simplistic, but they convey a sense of what it takes to grow and sustain a relationship. And I might mention that preceding the relationship itself was a period of courtship enabling each to get to know the other and determine whether or not to proceed in the further development of the relationship. Through this process they get to know, like, love, respect and honor each other in the fullness of time.
Successful, long-term business relationships aren't much different. From an initial period of courtship and excitement, the work of sustaining the relationship requires a significant commitment from both parties. They need to become vested partners with each other. They need to know, like and respect each other.
Relationship aspect marketing begins with a focus on the customer, then moving on to a focus on the relationship with that customer. As with any courtship, there is a lot of energy and money expended on getting that first date, that first commitment to do business together. Unfortunately, once we get the date we immediately begin taking the relationship for granted and our roving eye is looking for new conquests. Like the thoughtful husband that surprises his wife with flowers on a regular basis, imagine what your customer relationships would be like if you exerted the