ROR Essential Elements – 6 Your route to market


Return on Relationships is about Return on Investment, where your investment is in the time and energy it takes to build a network of positive advocates – people who like, trust and respect you, and you them.


Previous articles have discussed other Essential Elements, your Personal Proposition, your Business Proposition, Investing your time wisely and Taking the time to get to know people.  These Elements ensure that your Reputation in the Marketplace are maximised in terms of the core messages of who you are and what you do and, along with Maintaining your network, these activities help to ensure that you maximise your value for everyone’s benefit.


This article, the 6th in the Essential Elements series, looks at your network as your Route to Market and how to maximise this.


How often have you been at a networking event, or elsewhere, and been confronted with someone who is trying, shamelessly, to sell you their product/service, without even establishing if you might benefit from what they are offering….?  Do you listen patiently and politely, or do you make your excuses and head for someone you know?


Likewise, how many times on a social networking site, like Ecademy, has someone sent you an unsolicited message telling you how great their offering is, without taking the time to build a dialogue with you first. They just launch right in with a sales pitch – often not a very good one, either!


There are two key factors here – Firstly, we generally hate being sold to, even when we go into a sales outlet.  We want to be educated about our options, after our needs, or interest, have been established.  Secondly, it is much more comfortable if someone explains what they do in an interesting and informative way, leaving the way open for us to express an interest in buying their product/service (if it’s of interest) or to be able to file that knowledge for retrieval when we meet someone who has a relevant requirement.


The surprise, perhaps, is that if you analyse the interactions they are basically identical – in both cases a person is describing what they do (their business proposition).  In the first case, they are doing it as “a pitch” - a straight-forward sales presentation.  Whereas, in the second, they are doing it to educate the other person and, as such, it is much less “pushy”, less oppressive, more memorable and much more likely to solicit a two-way conversation, increasing the likelihood of potential future referrals.


So the outcome is very different and much more beneficial for both parties, there’s a greater probability that barriers will be broken down (if they were ever built) and that they will like each-other, build trust and create mutual respect


Which scenario is more appealing……? The one-off, “all-or-nothing” sales pitch, or building a long-term, trusted relationship with a potential advocate, who will be comfortable referring you to their friends and colleagues, knowing that you’re not going to damage their reputation if they make the introduction.


The critical aspect of achieving high ROR is reputation in the marketplace and the two key components of this are the size of your network and the reputation you carry with these people.  If people take away a negative impression of you because of the approach you take, then this is very damaging in the long-term.


In summary, the key to success with Return on Relationships is to treat everyone you meet as a potential advocate, not as a potential client.  If your product/service is good value for them, they will buy it – if it isn’t, they won’t, but they may still recommend you to others they meet….. if you haven’t put them off!


It’s all about dialogue – explain who you are and what you do, ask them for the same information about them and their business, share experiences, have a laugh, have a conversation, take the time to get to know them – and them, to know you………. BUT DON’T SELL!